Politics & Government

White House mindful of impeachment talk

President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he boards Air Force One to return to Washington, July 24, 2014 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
President Barack Obama waves to supporters as he boards Air Force One to return to Washington, July 24, 2014 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo) AP

White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer said administration officials aren’t dismissing talk of efforts to impeach President Barack Obama.

‘I would not discount the possibility,’ Pfeiffer told reporters Friday at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington.

Pfeiffer said a pro-impeachment opinion/editorial piece ealrier this month by former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin coupled with House Speaker John Boehner’s threatened lawsuit against Obama for allegedly overstepping his executive authority ‘has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future.’

‘Impeachment is a very serious thing that has been bandied about by the recent Republican vice presidential nominee (Palin) and others in an unserious way,’ Pfeiffer said. ‘We take it very seriously, and I don’t think it would be a good thing. But I think it would be foolish to discount the possibility that the Republicans will at least consider going down that path at some time in the future.’

Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that ‘I think that (there) are some Republicans, including some Republicans who are running for office, hoping they can get into office so that they can impeach the president,’ Earnest told reporters.

Boehner, R-Ohio, has insisted that his potential lawsuit wouldn’t be a prelude to impeachment. He’s repeatedly stated that he disagrees with Palin on the need to impeach Obama. While impeachment talk has heated up among some conservatives and those on the far right, many establishment Republicans don’t want to go there, mindful of what happened when the Republican-controled House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton in 1998 for lying about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewisnsky.

Expecting to make political gains, Republicans lost five seats in the House that year and failed to pick up a single Senate seat. The failure prompted then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., to relinquish his gavel.

Most Americans don’t want Obama impeached, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Friday. The survey found that 65 percent of Americans don’t believe he should be impeached and removed from office while 33 percent said he should be ousted from office through impeachment. The poll also displayed a partisan split with 57 percent of Republicans supporting impeachment. Thirty-five percent of Democrats and 13 percent of independents backed impeaching the president.