Former White House lawyer: Boehner's lawsuit 'just for show'

President Obama's former lawyer said Sunday that a lawsuit announced by House Republicans is "frivolous" and "just for show" in an election year.

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Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press" in her first interview since stepping down as White House counsel earlier this year, Kathy Ruemmler said Obama should not be worried about the lawsuit, which Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced last week, because it will not stand up in court.

"I don't think the Congress can show any injury here," Ruemmler said. "Congress has a lot of tools available to it to challenge the president if they disagree to the things that he's doing — most importantly, the power of the purse. But, you know, a lawsuit, to say it's frivolous, I think, is an understatement."

Ruemmler also said any Republican efforts to impeach Obama would be "extreme and obviously completely unwarranted."

Boehner said last Wednesday he intends to sue Obama for his frequent use of executive actions, which Republicans say are beyond his legal authority.

With the congressional elections coming up in November, Ruemmler suggested Republicans are just using this lawsuit as a way to smear the Obama administration and take votes away from Democrats.

"Obviously, this is just for show," Ruemmler said.

She said it is telling that Boehner has not provided any specifics about the lawsuit.

"To come out guns blazing and say, 'I'm going to sue you,' but then say, 'Well, I haven't really figured out why yet,' is a little bit odd, to say the least," Ruemmler said. "And I think it's pretty suggestive that this is just for show. And it's opportunistic in an election year."

Republicans have complained the president is going around Congress with executive actions aimed at accomplishing his policy goals with or without the consent of lawmakers.

But Ruemmler said Obama has been careful not to cross the line.

"The president has said that he's going to act where he can," she said. "And the emphasis on where he can. And, you know, the first thing that the president would ask and would instruct his lawyers, including myself and the lawyers at the Justice Department, is, ‘Do I have the legal authority to take this action?’ And he takes that responsibility very serious."