House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday rejected talk of impeaching President Obama, saying that the issue was being driven by White House staff and congressional Democrats who are trying to gin up liberal voters for the fall midterm elections.
"This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they are trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year's election," Boehner told reporters Tuesday morning. "We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans."
Boehner noted that the Democratic campaign arms have raised millions and millions of dollars through e-mail and direct mail pitches in recent weeks that raised the specter of a GOP-controlled Congress impeaching the president in 2015.
"It's all a scam started by the Democrats at the White House," Boehner said.
Democrats have latched onto the lawsuit that the speaker has engineered that will ask federal courts to determine whether Obama overreached in his executive powers, suggesting that the lawsuit is the GOP's foundation building effort to then impeach Obama. Boehner and other leading Republicans have rejected this, saying the suit will likely take several years to work its way through the courts and may have more meaning to set the parameters of executive power for the next occupant of the Oval Office.
Last week, White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer said that the administration believes chatter about an impeachment attempt is "very serious"
The Democrats' congressional campaign arm -- using nine e-mail pitches that cited impeachment -- pulled in $2.1 million in online donations over the weekend -- the best four-day haul of the current election cycle. On Tuesday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said that his committee has raised $7.6 million online since House Republicans said they planned to sue Obama, including bringing in $1 million on Monday alone.
Some Republicans, particularly the incoming majority whip, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), have played into Democratic hands by giving bumbling answers to impeachment questions, essentially declining to rule it out. Otherwise, only conservative activists with diminishing clout on Capitol Hill -- including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin -- have been the only Republicans advancing impeachment.
Democrats, newly in charge of Congress in 2007, went through similar phases in which the most liberal activists advocated impeaching President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), then one of the most liberal House members, advanced articles of impeachment in 2007 and 2008 against the vice president and the president, and Democratic leaders had to engineer floor votes that did not outright dismiss the charges but instead sent them to the House Judiciary Committee -- where they were left to die off.