“If you’re going to impeach a president of the United States you need to do it right. And it’s already July.”
President Obama will not be impeached — at least not this year. Despite a rallying cry in far-right media led by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, tea-party members of Congress on Tuesday echoed House Speaker John Boehner in saying they have no interest in pursuing an impeachment.
At their monthly “Conversations with Conservatives” luncheon, six of the House Republican conference’s leading conservative voices rejected the possibility of impeachment outright. For one thing, they argue, there’s not much time left in the term for a lengthy impeachment process. But they also suggested that the consequences of taking that kind of action against the president could be politically dangerous for the Republican Party.
Voices on the right have called for Congress to impeach the president for not enforcing the law, pointing strongly toward his delay of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act and enforcement along the border, as well as for withholding information from Congress, as in the exchange of five Taliban prisoners for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl earlier this year. For now, conservatives appear to be satiated by House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to file a lawsuit against the president over the employer-mandate issue, in lieu of impeachment.
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said he didn’t believe that the president’s actions have yet reached the level of impeachable offenses and argued that the party shouldn’t “even be talking about impeachment at this time.” Asked specifically about Palin’s comments in a Fox News online column titled “The Case for Obama’s Impeachment,” Labrador noted that she, as a former governor, has more leeway to make such bold declarations and does not have to deal with the consequences. “[Palin] doesn’t have the burden of leadership right now, and it’s very easy for her to go on Fox News and make statements that she doesn’t have to be accountable to anybody but herself,” he said.
Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., added that political analysts who have looked at the possibility of an impeachment proceeding have found time and again that it would merely rile up the Democratic base, just in time for November’s midterm elections. What’s more, it could turn off independent voters who “right now are leaning our way,” he added. “So if you want to help the Democrats keep control of the Senate, this would be the right way to do that,” Duncan said.
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who voted to impeach President Clinton (“every chance I could,” he joked), said there just isn’t time left in this term for the House to take up impeachment — particularly if members want to pass any other legislation this term.
Barton didn’t take a side on whether Obama should be impeached, calling the matter “debatable,” but he also added that the Senate would never vote to convict him. “As a practical matter it wouldn’t be possible even if we made the decision to do it…. If you’re going to impeach a president of the United States you need to do it right. And it’s already July,” he said.
Of the six members present, only Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, argued that Obama ought to be impeached, but he agreed with his colleagues that such a decision would be practically impossible this late in the term. “I don’t think it’s practical that we impeach him right now, but, absolutely, he deserves it,” he said.
Rep. Duncan, who was also present for Clinton’s impeachment, summed it up simply: “When somebody’s shooting themselves in the foot, you don’t take away their gun.”
“And nobody wants a President Joe Biden,” Labrador added, to laughter.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misattributed a quote to Rep. Tim Huelskamp. The quote was said by Rep. John Duncan.
What We're Following See More »
"An emerging theory among U.S. military investigators is that the Army Special Forces soldiers ambushed in Niger were set up by terrorists, who were tipped off in advance about a meeting in a village sympathetic to local ISIS affiliates...The group of American Green Berets and support soldiers had requested a meeting with elders of a village that was seen as supportive of the Islamic State, and they attended the meeting at around 11 a.m. local time Oct. 4...Such meetings are a routine part of the Green Beret mission, but it wasn't clear whether this meeting was part of the unit's plan."
"The long-awaited sentencing of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was delayed Monday after a legal battle erupted over the word 'but' in President Donald Trump's most recent remarks about the case. Bergdahl's defense team argued that their client could not get a fair shake from the court because Trump, during a Rose Garden appearance on Oct. 16, at first said he couldn't talk about the case and then added: 'But I think people have heard my comments in the past.'" Trump has called him a traitor and suggested he should be executed.
"The Trump administration is coming under increased pressure from Congress to kill a landmark deal between Boeing and an Iranian airline known for engaging in terrorism over concerns the Western airline company would enable Tehran's transfer of militant fighters across the region, according to multiple sources, who told the Washington Free Beacon the administration is likely to nix the multi-billion dollar deal. The Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran paved the way for U.S. aerospace corporation Boeing to ink a deal with Iran's state-controlled airline, Iran Air, which was recently caught using its commercial planes to ferry Iranian militants to regional hotspots."
"Tony Podesta and the Podesta Group are now the subjects of a federal investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, three sources with knowledge of the matter told NBC News. The probe of Podesta and his Democratic-leaning lobbying firm grew out of Mueller's inquiry into the finances of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort."