Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama?
Could Obama become the third President in American history to be impeached by the House of Representatives? According to Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX), House Republicans have the votes to impeach the President. At a town hall meeting in Luling, Texas on Saturday, the two-term congressman was caught on camera saying “if we were to impeach the President tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate and he wouldn’t be convicted.” To remove the President from office, the Constitution requires a majority of the House of Representatives to approve a bill of impeachment and then for two thirds of the Senate to then convict in a trial.
The subject of impeachment came up because Farenthold was asked a question by a constituent who didn’t believe that President Obama was born in the United States. The congressman’s response was “I think unfortunately the horse is already out of the barn on this, on the whole birth certificate issue. The original Congress when his eligibility came up should have looked into it and they didn’t. I’m not sure how we fix it.” A spokesperson for Farenthold later declined to respond to a question from Talking Points Memo about whether the Congressman thought Obama was a natural born citizen, saying that it was a “moot point.”
Farenthold warned though that impeachment would be counterproductive without a clear majority in the Senate to convict the President. “What message do we send to America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for and is found innocent? . . . I think there’s some potential damage to society that would be done with a failed attempt at impeachment.”
Farenthold didn’t specify what crimes that President Obama had committed. According to Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, the only crimes that the President (or any other civil officer of the United States) can be impeached for and convicted of are “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”