Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: Is There a Case For Impeaching President Obama?
The Razor: If there is, I haven’t seen it.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof and the impeachment of the president rises to this standard of evidence. I do not take impeachment lightly and continue to believe the GOP’s attempt at it in the 1990s was a terrific blunder. Sure, Clinton
was a weasel in his personal life and sure, he disrespected the Oval Office by turning it into his mini-porn studio, but his behavior hardly constituted a high crime.
I really dislike this president. I haven’t decided if he’s as bad as Jimmy Carter or worse, but the case grows for the latter. But for impeachment? I can recite a litany of scandals over the past six years, but none directly tie the president to them. If we had a press that was as antagonistic to this president as they were to Nixon 40 years ago, then perhaps that evidence would have been publicized. But at this point, it’s still buried. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t there, just that we don’t have it to move for impeachment.
Impeachment is really the nuclear option in politics. It devastates our electoral system and should only be used when it is absolutely necessary. I don’t like the way the party out of power throws the term around so loosely like a drunk in a bar waving a gun. When the Democrats begin talking about it and taking it seriously, then we’ll know we have what we need to move forward. But I don’t see it in the immediate future and there’s only 2 years left.
I only hope that IF the GOP wins that they investigate each scandal, especially those associated with the DoJ, Benghazi and the IRS. I want to know the complete truth.
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Technically, maybe so – though one certainly hopes GOP will have tons of stuff to fix without going through the motions of a bitter divide for the nation. The misery merchants and tons of community agitators would raise pure heck.
Best to work through a GOP controlled House and Senate to limit, undo and repeal.
JoshuaPundit: Is there a case to be made for impeaching Barack Hussein Obama? I think there very well might be, but first we need to find out.
President Clinton, one of the most personally corrupt presidents in our history, saw to it that naming a Special Prosecutor in the future would be all but impossible. Mr. Bill’s last ‘gift’ to the country before he left office in 2000 was to eliminate the Office of the Independent Counsel totally by executive order and replace it with the very different Office of Special Counsel, controlled by the Attorney General as part of the Justice Department.
One would hope that with the GOP controlling congress and new leadership in the House, they would hire their own Independent Special Prosecutor to investigate a number of scandals and clear violations of law by this president. In fact, I think they’ll have to if they plan to show they can govern effectively in the run up to 2016.
After the elections, President Obama has been quite open that he plans a number of actions during the Lame Duck session aimed at antagonizing the incoming Congress, including amnesty for between 5 and 6 million illegal aliens by executive order, the naming of a new, radical attorney general (most likely Thomas Perez), as well as other nasty surprises. Moreover, based on his track record of working with Republicans in Congress, rest assured that he will play politics by vetoing anything constructive or even remotely bi-partisan once the new Congress is seated, counting on the need for a 2/3 majority to create gridlock that he can then blame on Republicans. So, it will be necessary to counter that with an investigation of the president’s conduct in areas like these:
The president’s illegal war in Libya, which violated the War Powers Act of 1975, specifically Section 4(a)(1), which requires the President to report to Congress any introduction of U.S. forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities, Section 5(b) which requires that the use of forces must be terminated within 60 to 90 days unless Congress authorizes a longer period and Section 3, which requires that the “President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing” U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities. President Obama did not do any of these things.
The apparent violation by the White House of federal laws prohibiting the offer of White House jobs to politicians seeking to primary an incumbent, namely 18 USC 600, 18 USC 211 and 18 USC 595. Joe Sestak, who primaried Arlen Spector for his Senate seat in 2010 after Spector switched parties, said openly that he was offered a position at the White House in exchange for withdrawing his candidacy, which is clearly illegal. Daryl Issa of the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to AG Eric Holder which was ignored and in the flurry of other business and other scandals there was no real followup.
Pharmagate, in which President Obama reportedly made a deal with the huge pharmaceutical companies to stop ObamaCare from bargaining with them to get lower volume prices on drugs for the American people, import drugs from Canada, to pursue Medicare rebates and to stop any shifting of certain drugs to different Medicare plans, which would save Big Pharma billions in reduced reimbursements. The quid pro quo was a cut by Big Pharma limited to $80 billion in projected costs to taxpayers and senior citizens over ten years, plus $150 million from the pharmaceutical companies to be spent on advertising for Obamacare. Aside from this being what amounts to an illegal campaign contribution, the president is not allowed to make these kinds of deals without the approval of Congress. And no one has ever tracked what became of the money.
President Obama’s possibly illegal use of executive privilege. Under existing laws, communications and documents placed under executive privilege by a president must include a catalog that references the exact name of the document in question and details why it is being put under executive privilege. It’s known that President Obama shielded hundreds of documents relating to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scheme under a blanket order without a catalog.
President Obama’s illegal arming of Syrian rebels without Congressional approval. This is the same sort of thing President Reagan was pilloried for in Iran-Contra.
This president and his attorney general’s refusal to defend or enforce U.S. laws on immigration, the Defense of Marriage Act or prosecuting individuals guilty of material aid to terrorism. And his use of executive orders to circumvent Congress, as in the case of the Dreamers.
There’s lots more, but this will give you an idea of the sort of things that need to be investigated and the truth brought to light.
If our Republic means anything, it means that no one is above the law, Thus far, President Obama has been protected by his media allies and by his race. If an investigation proves that the White House was involved in these sordid episodes (and in at least three of these items, there’s no doubt that he was) a duty is owed by Congress to the American people. If President Obama is not investigated and confronted on these issues, it will create a dismal cloud of cynicism in America that will do immense harm to the country.
As for the actual mechanics, if the case is made properly and the American people allowed to see the evidence for themselves, I doubt that enough Democrats in either house will be able to vote against impeachment without suffering political damage – in fact, given how popular Barack Obama is with his own party these days, some might even welcome the opportunity. Actually, if the case is made clearly enough, I would expect President Obama to resign before an actual trial, in an exchange for a pardon by Joe Biden.
The Glittering Eye: Technically, “high crimes and misdemeanors” means breaking the oath of office. The word “high” does not refer to the nature of the crimes, but to the high nature of the office. That’s from English common law. Practically it means whatever the House thinks it does.
I think there are plenty of grounds for the House to vote for impeachment, but no prospect whatever that 2/3s of the Senate would vote to impeach. Consequently, I think voting to impeach the president would be a strategic error, more likely to injure Republicans than the president or Democrats.
I think a more interesting question is whether Congress should hold one or more cabinet or other administration officers in contempt. That can be done (at least using parliamentary maneuverings) by simple majority. There are so many to choose from: Eric Holder, John Brennan, several former heads of the IRS, etc.
If the new Republican Congress is bound and determined to show their disapproval of the president, they should vote to censure him. Again with parliamentary maneuverings, it’s something that could be done with a simple majority. If they do, they should do it as early as possible to get it out of their systems and out of the headlines long before the 2016 campaign begins in earnest.
Quite to the contrary, I think a new Republican Congress should extend an olive branch to the president and do so publicly. If the president rebuffs their overtures, they will appear gracious and he churlish.
The Right Planet: Personally, I feel there is more of a case for the impeachment of Barack Obama than for any other U.S. president in history. Consider the IRS scandal: one of the articles of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon was his alleged misuse of the IRS against his political enemies. Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment against Nixon claimed he “endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.” The keyword here is “endeavored;” he didn’t actually follow through with it.
Another abuse of power by Barack Obama worthy of impeachment is his handing of illegal immigration. One of the main responsibilities of the President of the United States is to enforce the laws Congress has written. Regardless of whether a president likes the laws or not, he is charged with enforcing them. Yet Obama ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton to prohibit ICE officers from enforcing US immigration laws. Obama also allowed Attorney General Eric Holder to ignore the violation of US immigration laws in so-called sanctuary cities like San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Portland, etc.
Obama served as president of the UN Security Council and presided over its 6191st meeting on Thursday, 24 September, 2009, in gross violation of Article 1 Section 9 of the United States Constitution — another impeachable offense.
One of the more egregious abuses by President Obama was his illegal war in Libya, which was a blatant violation of the War Powers Act. Obama never requested Congressional approval for the military action in Libya, but instead cited a United Nations security resolution as his legal justification for waging war. Despite how one may feel about George Bush and the invasion of Iraq, Bush did obtain the required Congressional resolution, yet many on the left called Bush’s action an “illegal war,” while the left remained noticeably silent on Obama’s actions in Libya.
I really don’t have space to cover all the scandals, such as the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation, the attack in Benghazi, spying on journalists, etc., etc. and numerous other reasons why Barack Obama should’ve been removed from office long ago. Perhaps impeachment is too good for Obama; I would prefer prosecution.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: There are numerous incidents during this Administration where many of us believe President Obama could and should be impeached. I would define “high crimes and misdemeanors” as an abuse of power by one who holds an office of high position.
The President’s oath of office binds the president throughout his tenure, and as such, any public statement he makes that is a lie can be considered perjury. His statements regarding the Affordable Health Care Act alone, in which he stated emphatically and repeatedly that everyone who liked their current doctor and health insurance would be able to keep them, was obviously a lie. The challenge is in proving in a court of law that he perjured himself when he made these statements.
The Constitution also states that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” We see how President Obama has acted unilaterally in not enforcing the law on the rollout of Obamacare, waiving some rules and delaying others for reasons he deemed politically or personally beneficial. In this case alone there is enough in my opinion to impeach President Obama.
However, in today’s political climate, for anyone to consider impeaching President Obama, they must be certain that he can be convicted of the crime or crimes for which he is impeached. It is not enough that he be impeached; proceedings must result in his removal from office.
I believe if Benjamin Franklin were alive today he would agree that President Obama has rendered himself “obnoxious” and call for his impeachment.
The Independent Sentinel: I am not a lawyer and don’t know if Barack Obama’s behavior rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.
He has constantly undermined the separation of powers, states’ rights and the Constitution using his pen and phone. He only follows the laws he wants to follow in violation of his oath. He has violated immigration law and his own healthcare act.
He misuses laws to suit his ideological pursuits.
He has lied frequently. He lied to the American people about keeping their doctors and healthcare plans.
He has fired top military leaders and probably targeted innocent Americans using his agencies.
Mr. Obama has alienated our friends and caved to our enemies.
He can probably claim incompetence.
Impeachment is a remedy for usurpation or abuse of power or serious breach of trust. He has certainly done that.
A case might be made for impeachment based on his abuse of Obamacare.
But let’s face it, the Senate would never get the votes needed, so it’s better to not even go there. A lot of Republicans wouldn’t even vote to impeach him.
There isn’t anything he could do that would get the Senate to vote for impeachment, except if he murdered Michelle or something like that.
In any case, he needs to have his funds cut off.
Rhymes With Right: Let’s begin by accepting the premise that it there is no point in impeaching Obama if it it is unlikely to succeed in removing him. After all, the Democrats have reached the point where they put party before country and platform before Constitution. Getting 67 votes to remove Obama is therefore virtually inconceivable and renders the exercise pointless.
That said, I do believe that there are grounds for impeachment.
The most obvious grounds would be the same as part of what was found in the second article of impeachment passed against Richard Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee.
1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
But there are other grounds.
Obstruction of justice charges might well be considered in light of his failure to order Eric Holder to produce subpoenaed documents.
Obama’s usurpation of congressional war-making powers in Libya also seem appropriate fodder for impeachment articles.
The President’s creation of paid positions unauthorized by and rejected by Congress might be considered as well, as might his abuse of the recess appointment power.
Multiple articles could be related to his failure to see to the faithful execution of the laws, both by ordering his subordinates to ignore statutory obligations and by issuing executive orders purporting to override and replace statutory law when he could not get legislation through Congress. Many of these would relate to ObamaCare and to immigration matters.
The most critical and compelling charges would grow from a single incident. At least three charges could grow out of the Benghazi fiasco. The first would involve his abandonment of his post during the Benghazi attack, so that he could get rested for a campaign fundraiser. The second would involve his scapegoating of the maker of the Muhammad video and misuse of the Justice Department to arrest and imprison him for exercising his First Amendment right to criticize Islam. The third would be treason, given that he and Secretary Clinton offered a groveling apology to our enemies for the exercise of First Amendment rights by Americans, thereby giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
But as I said, I believe that impeaching Obama would be fruitless. Instead the House and Senate (presuming a Republican takeover of the latter body) should offer a joint resolution censuring Barack Hussein Obama over these matters and noting that a clear majority of both the House and Senate believe that impeachment and removal are the appropriate course of action save for the partisan refusal of the Democrats to hold their own president to account. Such a move would be a weaker one than what is merited, but would still put every member of both Houses on the record as to Obama’s lawlessness.
Well, there you have it!
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