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White House Aide Says Republicans Might Impeach Obama Over Immigration

McClatchy Tribune News Service Politics

White House Aide Says Republicans Might Impeach Obama Over Immigration


By David Lauter, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will propose broad-ranging executive action on immigration reform later this summer that could provoke Republicans into trying to impeach him, a senior White House official said Friday.

While details of the immigration plan are still being worked on, it will mark “an important step in the arc of the presidency” that will shape both the substance and politics of immigration policy for years, White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.

That move is certain to “increase the angry reaction from Republicans” who already accuse Obama of exceeding his executive authority, Pfeiffer said, highlighting recent statements by former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in which she backed an impeachment move.

“I would not discount the possibility” that Republicans would seek to impeach Obama, he said, adding that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), has “opened the door to impeachment” by his plans to sue Obama for allegedly exceeding his executive authority.

Many strategists in both parties believe that Republicans suffered serious political damage during the 1990s from impeaching President Bill Clinton over making false statements in connection with his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The impeachment then crystallized the public view of the GOP as intransigent and overly political, polls indicated.

This time around, Democrats have pinned much of their hopes for the midterm elections on contrasting what they depict as Obama’s willingness to use his presidential powers to solve national problems with Republican obstructionism. Republicans argue that Obama is exceeding his authority to achieve goals he cannot persuade Congress to approve.

Pfeiffer denied, however, that White House officials believed a renewed impeachment clash would be “good” for Obama. But he seemed to go out of his way to repeatedly raise the prospect.

He also suggested that Obama’s immigration move would shield from deportation large numbers of people who are currently in the country without legal authorization. That would put Republican presidential candidates in a difficult position in the run-up to the 2016 election, he suggested.

“The Republican Party will have a choice,” he said, of either repudiating those factions in the party that strongly oppose any legal status for those who are currently undocumented or running a campaign saying “elect a Republican to deport all these people.”

Boehner repeatedly has ruled out calls for impeachment proceedings that have come from a variety of more conservative Republicans and has pushed back against those in the party who have stirred the effort. His proposal for a lawsuit alleging that Obama has exceeded his powers has been widely seen as an effort to tamp down those discussions.

Republican aides see Pfeiffer’s comments as an attempt to excite Democratic activists and donors in the roughly 100 days remaining before the midterm elections.

“We have a humanitarian crisis at our border, and the White House is making matters worse with inattention and mixed signals,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “It is telling, and sad, that a senior White House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border.”

AFP Photo/Jewel Samad

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  1. neeceoooo July 25, 2014

    And what is Boehner’s plan for helping these children and
    securing the border. They are not
    sneaking into this country for one; and two, the President has tried to get the
    republicans to agree on funds to help the children and they kicked him in the
    head. What, pray tell, is their plan? Anyone?

    1. Dominick Vila July 27, 2014

      Their plan, thus far, is to blame the President that holds an all-time record of deportations for not deporting asylum seekers fast enough.
      Bear in mind that the latest “crisis” has more to do with the need to rally the GOP base, than actual threats. In this case, the Obama is already deporting those who cannot prove political persecution, physical or psychological trauma caused by drug gang violence, or conditions so dire that humanitarian aid is unavoidable. The overwhelming majority of asylum seekers have been – or will be – flown back to their respective countries. The whole thing is nothing more than one of the 3-ring circuses that dominate our attention on an election year.

      1. neeceoooo July 28, 2014

        Thank you for the clarification.

  2. Dominick Vila July 27, 2014

    President Obama, and Democrats in general, may benefit from an Executive Order to cease the persecution and deportation of asylum seekers, and children born in the USA whose parents are living in the USA illegally, but he will commit political hare-kiri if he even proposes amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. In fact, if he does the latter, impeachment will be the least of our problems. We will lose the Senate, and there is a good chance the damage inflicted by such a decision may hamper the Democrat’s chances of keeping the White House in 2016. Abortion, gun control, and illegal immigration elicit emotions that far surpassed everything else, including the economic gains we have made, OBL, national security and everything else.

  3. rustacus21 July 28, 2014

    Instead of worrying about it, President Obama should simply halt deportations & craft a plan HIMSELF which reflects our Constitutional legacy toward distressed immigrants seeking a better life here in America. If they’re going to do it, they may as well do it for the COMPLETELY WRONGEST REASONS, as we approach this years Mid-Term elections… benefiting the Party responsible for support of REAL immigration reform (the Presidents’)…


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