Allen West wants President Obama to be impeached over the Taliban prisoner swap.
In a blog post titled, “The case for impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama,” the Florida Republican and former congressman wrote that exchanging “traitor” Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Afghan Taliban members should be an impeachable offense.
After supposedly going AWOL, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held in Afghanistan for five years. The five senior Taliban members who were released had been detained at Guantanamo Bay, and will now spend another year in Qatar. (As a refresher, under the Constitution, the president may be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”)
“Why would the United States acquiesce to the demands of a non-state, nonuniform terrorist organization — the Taliban? The Taliban is our enemy and it is not a nation-state with whom we should enter into negotiations,” West wrote on Tuesday. “Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that Barack Hussein Obama’s unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult — mandated by law — with the U.S. Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense.”
Back in 2010, Jonathan Chait predicted that by the end of Obama’s second term, the House of Representatives would vote to impeach him. “Wait, you say. What will they impeach him over?” Chait wrote. “You can always find something. Mini-scandals break out regularly in Washington.”
The Bergdahl affair (and West’s assertion that it’s an impeachable offense) is the latest iteration of these “mini-scandals.” The difference is that, unlike the scandal surrounding Benghazi and the IRS’s perceived political targeting, this presents an ongoing threat. If one of the released Taliban operatives were to become involved in a future terrorist attack, that’s when it evolves into a full-grown, adult scandal.
Here’s a short rundown of other White House scandals (or “scandals”) that have led Republicans to call for Obama’s impeachment (and for the full list, Wikipedia has you covered):
- In 2010, Rep. Darrell Issa said Obama could face impeachment after Rep. Joe Sestak claimed the White House offered him a job to prevent him from challenging Arlen Specter in a primary.
- In 2011, Rep. Michael Burgess told a local Tea Party group that Obama’s impeachment “needs to happen,” without specifying why.
- In 2012, Sen. Jon Kyl said “impeachment is always a possibility” over Obama’s immigration policies.
- Last May, Rep. Jason Chaffetz said he was not pushing for impeachment, but didn’t rule out that Obama could be kicked out of office over the Benghazi affair.
- In 2013, Sen. Tom Coburn told the audience at a town-hall meeting that Obama was getting “perilously close” to qualifying for impeachment. Coburn’s fellow Oklahoma senator, James Inhofe, agreed.
- In 2013, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio said his legislative dream would be to impeach Obama.
- During the debt-ceiling crisis, Rep. Louie Gohmert told an interviewer that defaulting on the U.S. government’s debt would be an “impeachable offense.”
- While Sen. Ted Cruz has demurred on calls for Obama’s impeachment in the past, but has called it “a good question” and “a question for the House to assess.”
Few things get tea-party conservatives’ blood boiling faster than Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the Affordable Care Act. But it’s not just middle-class Joes at tea-party rallies who get exercised about the idea of impeaching the president. Last week, McKay Coppins wrote about upper-crust conservatives’ efforts to join the Impeach Obama movement. At a tony event at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, elite conservatives celebrated the release of a new book titled Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case For Obama’s Impeachment.
The book’s author, Andrew McCarthy (a former federal prosecutor), does not directly argue for actually impeaching Obama. Instead, Coppins wrote, he “makes a more subdued argument; that Obama has abused his office, and that actively threatening impeachment is the best way for Congress to reign in the powers of the executive branch.”
In this way, Republicans can concede that impeaching Obama is an unlikely scenario — but they’re good at staying on message nonetheless.
What We're Following See More »
Senator John McCain paid a secret visit to Northern Syria over the weekend during his trip abroad. McCain reportedly went "to speak with American officials and Kurdish fighters leading the charge to push ISIS militants out of Raqqa, the jihadist group’s stronghold." The trip was organized with the help of U.S. military.
"The Trump administration will deliver its first budget to Congress in mid-March, and the president confirmed Wednesday it will contain major cuts for federal agencies." The blueprint, expected to be released in mid-March, will not include the kinds of specifics usually seen in White House budgets, but rather will instruct the heads of agencies to "do more with less."
"While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold." From Washington state to California to Florida, Sanders loyalists are making good on their promise to remake the party from the ground up. And just last week, a "group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents."
Congress will need to vote on Donald Trump's pick of Lt. General H.R. McMaster to be his next national security adviser, but not for the reason you think. The position of NSA doesn't require Senate approval, but since McMaster currently holds a three-star military position, Congress will need to vote to allow him to keep his position instead of forcing him to drop one star and become a Major General, which could potentially affect his pension.