Chaffetz doesn’t rule out impeachment for Obama
May 14th, 2013
08:46 PM ET
10 years ago

Chaffetz doesn’t rule out impeachment for Obama

(CNN) - Rep. Jason Chaffetz reiterated Tuesday that the impeachment of President Barack Obama is possible as the White House faces scrutiny over its role in responding to the terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

“Look, it's not something I'm seeking,” the Republican congressman from Utah said on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” “It's not the endgame; it's not what we're playing for. I was simply asked, is that within the realm of possibilities, and I would say ‘yes.’ I'm not willing to take that off the table. But that’s certainly not what we’re striving for.”

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Chaffetz first said impeachment could be an option in an interview published Monday by the Salt Lake Tribune.

“We want truth,” Chaffetz said on CNN. “We want to have the president do what he has said he would always do, and that is, be open and transparent. Thus far, the White House has not done that.”

Republicans' accusations of an administration-led coverup in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack were fueled last week by the release of internal e-mails showing that top administration officials scrubbed any mention of al Qaeda from talking points given to members of Congress and Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The unclassified talking points have become a political flashpoint in a long-running battle between the administration and Republicans, who say that officials knew the attack was a planned terror operation while they were telling the public it was an act of violence that grew out of a demonstration over an anti-Islam video.

Asked Tuesday about critics who compare the controversy to Watergate, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that “people who make those kind of comparisons need to check their history.”

“What we have here with one issue, in Benghazi, is so clearly … a political sideshow, a deliberate effort to politicize a tragedy,” Carney said, echoing comments that Obama made Monday.

Chaffetz, who sits on the House Oversight Committee that heard testimony last week from three State Department employees who were dissatisfied with the administration’s handling of the attack, said the White House is simply trying to “demoralize” and take out the messenger.

“We heard from three very credible witnesses with more than 70 years of public service saying that what happened on the ground versus what the White House would lead us to believe were two totally different things,” he said.

The House of Representatives has the power to impeach a federal official by handing down charges called articles of impeachment. The Senate then tries the official and determines whether to remove the individual from office. For example, President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 over perjury allegations stemming from his sexual relationship with a White House intern, but the Senate acquitted him.

- CNN’s Ashley Killough and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Jason Chaffetz • Libya • President Obama • Utah
soundoff (882 Responses)
  1. CueBallSTL

    I'm certainly not a fan of Liberals, but I don't see the Benghazi situation as warranting impeachment. Does anyone, Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, think the government is always 100% forthcoming? Does anyone think the government MUST be forthcoming and 100% truthful? Misinformation is a time-honored way of gaining a strategic advantage against your enemies. Administrations across the political spectrum have used misinformation to their advantage. I would be towards the front of the line to call for impeachment if Obama or Clinton deserved it, but unless there are other facts that I haven't seen, I don't think the case for impeachment holds water.

    May 14, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  2. Name1

    Seriously can we get to something more important? Like our deficit? If this party half as much energy on our true problems we could find our way out of debt.

    May 14, 2013 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  3. Last Nail

    The Republican's witch hunt just can't wait to show its true colors can it? They just can't wait to bring more controversy to their already disappearing political party which of course as everyone knows would mean the last nail on their coffin! The President has committed no impeachable offense but to the CONServatives everything he does warrants impeachment! How sad that that's all that party can do since they aren't solving the true problems of this country.

    May 14, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  4. DJ Reality

    Here they go again. I knew the was coming. The republican side show. They wont wotk on a jobs bill. They wont work on the deficit. They wont solve our economic whoa's. But they can find time for this. They can only work one maybe two days a week and we get this. Thank you republicans you have proved to meonr thing and one thing only. You are what is wrong with Washington.. .

    May 14, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  5. ShingoEX

    Start with Bush and Cheney

    May 14, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  6. Deborah Nelson

    Just trying to make mountains out of mole hills. Wish Congress would spend this much time on constructive activities that would benefit our country instead of trying to invent political scandal and act as if they are so righteous while doing nothing except trying to make self-serving comments to the media.

    May 14, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  7. Bill FFX

    Chaffatz obviously has a retentive issue. I'm afraid that the GOP has sunken to depths that are not even visible to level-headed distant watchers (such as I). I am beginning to understand the frustration of anyone who sees that the current political system does not serve them or their constituents. It seems to appease only the wealthy and deep-pocketed sponsors of the status-quo. In the case of the current office holders, a stalemate between the House and Senate. Maybe it's time to rejuvenate the spirit of the 60's that got our butts out of Viet Nam. Now there's much worse consequences if nobody acts. Let's get out of places where we don't belong and blame it on Bush, where the blame belongs. I feel better now.

    May 14, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. Typical

    Waste more time and resources on this nonsense. Lets not work on real issues. I think the Dems should start throwing impeachment around from now on in every Republican Party every time something comes up. It is getting so old. Sigh

    May 14, 2013 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. Objectively Moderate

    I am in Independent who has voted for Republicans as much as Democrats in my lifetime. If the Republicans waste time impeaching President Obama, I will not vote for another Republican for national office for at least 20 years. I made a similar statement about Dems when they threatened to impeach President Bush. The pettiness of both parties is beyond pathetic.

    May 14, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  10. John

    Another Republican making a desperate grab for attention. He'll impeach Obama for this, but wouldn't think of holding Bush accountable for the lie that got us into Iraq where THOUSANDS of Americans have died, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of Iraqi civilians have died, and TRILLIONS of dollars lost in the effort. And never mind his overseeing the near collapse of our economy that we may never recover from... but by all means, impeach Obama over Benghazi where no evidence exists that Obama (or anyone) did anything illegal.

    May 14, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. jeff

    really? with all that this criminal has done in the the seat of the white house, this is the thing that they want to impeach him on?

    May 14, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  12. matt houston

    Let's level the field. Impeach Obama and put Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Rice in Prison or execute them for treason. Deal?
    No deal? Didn't think so you sorry excuses for human beings.

    May 14, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  13. Typical

    Ha! Forgot the word Presidency in my lat post.

    May 14, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  14. jheron

    Impeach? Good luck with many hearings? And all conclude that there was incompetency, but there is no grounds for impeachment whatsoever. If Democrats thru around impeachment as much as these Republicans did, the only Republican president who wouldn't have been impeached since Nixon's resignation would have been Gerald Ford.

    May 14, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  15. Shane

    Oh please, please try to impeach President Obama.

    It would be another nail in the Republican party's coffin in if they tried to impeach a democratically elected president who was chosen by the people only 7 months ago over this.

    We all know the House would vote to impeach and there is no way he would be convicted in the Senate.
    It would just make Republicans look more foolish and hated than they all ready are, if that's possible.

    May 14, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  16. Eric

    Hey Carney, what was Nixon impeach for? Was it the break in or the fact that he tried to cover it up after the fact? If Obama is willing to lie about Americans getting Killed what else is he willing to lie about? How can we trust him that the IRS focus on conservative groups was not directed by him? He did not approved of the seizure of the AP records. It is one thing to lie to the American public for National Security reasons but to lie to cover up Political gain is unacceptable. This is not a political sideshow but a real issue.

    May 14, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  17. Silicon Addict

    For what? I've been defending Bush on 9/11 for years in that this kinda thing happens. Its impossible to stop all terror attacks. And there is such a thing as being too cautious. What happened if they evacuated the embassy and nothing happened? Obama would be blamed for jumping the gun.
    If Obama is responsible for benghazi then its time to open up the possibilities for George W. Bush being responsible for allowing the attacks on 9/11. Oh but he's a Republican. Wouldn't want that Mr Chaffetz. Would you?

    May 14, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  18. bill

    Please, dubya made up evidence of WMD's to invade Iraq, and killed THOUSANDS of American and coalition troops in the process, so why didn't we impeach dubya??? This is just another example of the alternate universe, double standard, hypocrisy and different laws that the GOP/Tea Party want to live by. The republicans are the "Do as I Say Not as I Do" party. What a complete joke...

    May 14, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  19. George Philly

    Culture war BS... Pretending truth... Disgusting display of our political system gone wrong... "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out!". I hope they choke on their hypocracy. How many died and were horribly maimed in the War in Iraq... a war started by a gang of politicians, later known as the Bush administration, who were members of a think tank formed with the purpose of going back into Iraq (Wolfawitz, Chaney, et al) years before the claims of bogus WMDs.

    May 14, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  20. Jack

    Another circus by the GOP and to think that I used to vote for these guys!

    May 14, 2013 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  21. r. smith

    Can it ger any worse for potus. Yes and it will.

    May 14, 2013 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  22. BTK

    “We want truth,” Chaffetz said on CNN. “We want to have the president do what he has said he would always do, and that is, be open and transparent. Thus far, the White House has not done that.”

    Funny, I was just thinking the same thing about Congress. Looks like the pot calling the kettle black.

    May 14, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  23. ExDemBecauseOfObama

    Obama should absolutely be impeached. He has spent to much time and effort trying to cover things up. And, for him to accuse the GOP of trying to politisize anything takes a lot of nerve. 1; Benghazi is a political issue, people died because of political incompetence. 2; anybody remember the Newtown tragedy? The way he USED those families instead of letting them heal was unconscionable. Parading them around at taxpayer expense, lying to the world claiming 90% of americans wanted the new gun bills. For the record, if 90% really had, getting re elected wouldn't have been an issue for anyone in congress ( his excuse for failing ). 3; Don't even get me started on things like obama care, fast and furious, and the changes he wants in immigration. I am 60 years old and he is by far the worst president I can remember.Obama needs to go before he completly destroys this country.

    May 14, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. DMC


    Like he has ANY support for that!

    May 14, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  25. Joshua

    That IS what they would like to see. Somebody tell the sticking truth! lol

    May 14, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
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