While U.S. House members have been calling for President Obama’s impeachment for some time, one U.S. senator is saying the president’s conduct is “getting perilously close” to inciting a congressional response.
While speaking to a group in his Oklahoma district Wednesday, Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn responded to a question from the audience about the constitutional standards required to begin impeachment proceedings, according to BuzzFeed.
“What you have to do is you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president, and that’s called impeachment,” Coburn said. “That’s not something you take lightly, and you have to use a historical precedent of what that means. I think there’s some intended violation of the law in this administration, but I also think there’s a ton of incompetence, of people who are making decisions.”
A constituent said that if he personally shows incompetence, a government entity such as the Internal Revenue Service forces him to abide by the law.
“No, I agree,” Coburn said. “My little wiggle out of that when I get that written to me is I believe that needs to be evaluated and determined, but thank goodness it doesn’t have to happen in the Senate until they’ve brought charges in the House. Those are serious things, but we’re in a serious time. I don’t have the legal background to know if that rises to high crimes and misdemeanor, but I think they’re getting perilously close.”
Coburn spoke of an incident where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees told him they were advised by Homeland Security to “ignore all the background” and just “approve people.” Coburn said that he is documenting these reports.
“I’m kind of like the lady in the back,” he said. “I am fed up. I am frustrated. I am happy to raise an issue at every point.”
While Coburn noted that Obama is personal friend from their Senate days, he said that he doesn’t agree with what the president is doing or how he’s doing it.
“And I quite frankly think he’s in a difficult position he’s put himself in, and if it continues, I think we’re going to have another constitutional crisis in our country in terms of the presidency,” he said.
Watch his remarks here via Mediaite: