Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the third-ranking Democrat in the House, said this week that the House will impeach President Barack Obama if they retain control after the midterm elections.
“If the Republicans maintain control of the House, Barack Obama will be impeached. There were 225 votes for this lawsuit — well beyond the 218 that’s needed to impeach,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “That’s my expectation. I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think so.”
As Talking Points Memo noted, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said Republicans will not impeach Obama. He also said impeachment talk was a “scam” being orchestrated by Democrats. Immediately after taking impeachment off the table, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Mark Levin criticized Boehner for foolishly doing so, removing one more check against Obama’s potential enactment of executive amnesty.
House Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have said Obama’s lawlessness on illegal immigration does not rise to “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But as Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor and author of Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment noted, many lawmakers do not know what “high crimes and misdemeanors” actually means.
“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. “
Liberal Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley agreed, arguing that if “the president were to openly defy clear federal authority and order unlawful acts, he would move from the realm of using arguable discretion to that of being a danger to the system as a whole.”
“While there’s a high bar for what constitutes grounds for impeachment, an offense does not have to be indictable,” Turley wrote. “Madison saw impeachment as ‘defending the community against the incapacity, negligence, or perfidy of the chief magistrate.’ And the founders emphasized that impeachments were about what happened in the political arena: involving ‘political crimes and misdemeanors’ and resulting in ‘political punishments.'”
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who called for Obama’s impeachment on the pages of Breitbart News, said that more Americans would be in favor of it if Obama enacts more executive amnesty and they discover what “high crimes and misdemeanors” actually means. A third of Americans favor impeachment in multiple polls, while a majority of Republicans believe it is justified.