At a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said President Barack Obama’s lawless executive actions are not high crimes and misdemeanors worthy of impeachment.
“I see this as sort of a ridiculous gambit by the president and his political team to try and change the narrative, raise money, and turn out their base for an upcoming election that they feel is not going to go their way,” Ryan said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “[Obama’s executive actions do] not rise to the high crime and misdemeanor level.”
However, as Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor and author of Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment, wrote in National Review, many politicians and pundits do not know what “high crimes and misdemeanors” actually are when it comes to impeachment.
“Contrary to some less than informed opinion, ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ – the legal standard for impeachment – refers not to indictable criminal offenses but to profound breaches of the public trust by high-ranking officials,” McCarthy wrote. “Once the standard is understood, it becomes easy to see that the president and his underlings have committed numerous, readily provable impeachable offenses. “
“Yet, even if a president commits a hundred high crimes and misdemeanors, impeachment is a non-starter unless the public is convinced that the president should be removed from power,” he continued. “The real question is political: Are his lawlessness and unfitness so thoroughgoing that we can no longer trust him with the awesome power of the chief executive?”
Conservative scholar and talk radio host Mark Levin, who was the Chief of Staff to Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General Ed Meese, also said that “a high crime and misdemeanor doesn’t mean [Obama] goes out and robs a bank or knocks off a 7-Eleven. Nobody ever expected a president to do that.”
“Obama has committed high crimes and misdemeanors by violating the Constitution,” Levin said on his Monday radio show. “Here’s the dead truth. Obama should be impeached, but he won’t be impeached. Obama should be impeached if the Republicans take the Senate, but he won’t be impeached if the Republicans take the Senate.
“There have been books written about this, including our buddy Andy McCarthy’s book. You have people who are pontificating about a subject they know nothing about, and then [at every opportunity] they’re spitting out the [establishment] Republican talking points.”
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said last week that the Obama administration was concerned that Republicans would begin impeachment proceedings if Obama enacted executive actions to grant work permits – in contravention of U.S. law – to millions of illegal immigrants. On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) declared that the House would not impeach Obama and impeachment talk was a “scam” started by Democrats.
Boehner made his remarks after Rep. Steve King (R-IA) predicted on Breitbart News Saturday that the House would begin impeachment proceedings if Obama went through with his executive amnesty. Even Republican establishment pundit Charles Krauthammer said that even though he would be against impeachment proceedings, Obama’s potential granting of work permits to millions of illegal immigrants would be an “impeachable offense.”
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called for impeachment on the pages of Breitbart News, and she said that Obama’s lawlessness on illegal immigration – because it impacts American workers of all backgrounds and races, including legal immigrants, who played by the rules and must pay the costs associated with it – was the tipping point. Palin, like Messrs. McCarthy and Levin, has said that many people do not know what “impeachable offenses” actually are:
The Constitution says “high crimes and misdemeanors” are the basis for this serious remedy. The Framers used that term to mean a dereliction of duty, and the first duty of the president is to enforce our laws and preserve, protect, and defend our Constitution.
Alexander Hamilton described impeachable offenses as “the abuse or violation of some public trust.” He called them “political” offenses because they “relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”
No serious person who is paying attention can deny that Obama and his administration have abused and violated the public trust and the Constitution.
A CNN poll found that a majority of Republicans and a third of Americans support impeachment, while a plurality believed Obama has overstepped his constitutional bounds. A YouGov poll found that two-thirds of Republicans and a little more than a third of Americans supported impeachment while a majority felt Obama had overstepped his constitutional authority. Palin said that more Americans, especially if Obama enacts another executive amnesty, would be in favor of impeachment if they realized the Founders intended it as the ultimate check against a lawless executive.