By Alexander Bolton - 07/25/14 10:30 AM EDT
Senior White House advisers are taking very seriously the possibility that Republicans in Congress will try to impeach President Obama, especially if he takes executive action to slow deportations.
Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to Obama, said Friday that the White House is taking the prospect of impeachment in the GOP-controlled House more seriously than many others in Washington, who see it as unlikely.
“I saw a poll today that had a huge portion of the Republican Party base saying they supported impeaching the president. A lot of people in this town laugh that off. I would not discount that possibility,” he told reporters Friday at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.
Pfeiffer said Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return GOP senator: Reid's 'ramblings' are 'bitter, vulgar, incoherent' Reid: We're not breaking the budget deal MORE’s (R-Ohio) decision to file a lawsuit against Obama over his use of executive actions increased the chance of impeachment proceedings in the future.
He said that possibility could become more likely if Obama takes executive action to halt the deportations of illegal immigrants who have strong ties to the United States, such as those who have family members who are U.S. citizens.
“I think Speaker Boehner, by going down the path of this lawsuit, has opened the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future,” he said.
Palin wrote an op-ed for Breitbart earlier this month calling for Obama’s impeachment because of his handling of the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America on the Texas border, calling it the “last straw that makes the battered wife say ‘no mas.’
She has also criticized Boehner’s lawsuit as a weak move.
Boehner has pushed back against pressure from Palin and other conservatives.
“I disagree,” he told reporters this month.
A poll by CNN/ORC International released Friday shows a majority of the U.S. public say Obama should not be impeached.
Two-thirds of the survey’s respondents said they opposed impeachment, while 35 percent endorsed it.
But nearly 60 percent of Republicans said they would support impeachment proceedings against Obama. More than a third of independents, and 13 percent of Democrats also want to see Obama impeached.
The House, then controlled by Republicans, impeached former President Bill Clinton in 1998, but the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted him in 1999.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who at the time was a member of the House and served as a prosecutor in Clinton’s impeachment trial, warned this summer that there would be calls for impeachment if Obama released more prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp without first informing Congress.
Obama has dismissed the impeachment talk as lacking merit.
“You hear some of them: ‘Sue him! Impeach him!’” Obama said in Austin, Texas, recently. “Really? For what, doing my job?”
Conservatives in Congress, however, have become increasingly agitated by what they say is the president’s Obama failure to follow the law.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Obama’s executive order to defer the deportations of illegal immigrants who came to the country at a young age spawned the Texas border crisis. He argues it is part of a broader pattern.
Cruz released a report in May that listed 76 examples of what he called Obama’s “lawless” acts.
“The pattern of lawlessness by this Administration should concern every citizen, regardless of party or ideology,” Cruz said. “Rule of law means that we are a nation ruled by laws, not men.
This story was updated at 12:23 p.m.