By Meghashyam Mali - 05/15/13 11:23 AM EDT
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) on Tuesday refused to rule out impeaching President Obama over the administration’s handling of the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“It's not something I'm seeking,” said Chaffetz on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “It’s not the endgame; it's not what we're playing for. I was simply asked, is that within the realm of possibilities, and I would say ‘yes.’ I'm not willing to take that off the table.
Chaffetz's comments came after he first raised the issue of impeachment in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday.
“It’s certainly a possibility,” he told the paper. “That’s not the goal but given the continued lies perpetrated by this administration, I don’t know where it’s going to go.”
GOP lawmakers last week renewed their probe of the Benghazi attacks, hearing from three current and former State Department employees. Republicans say they want answers on whether all military resources were deployed to protect American lives and how the administration drafted talking points that incorrectly blamed the terror attack on a spontaneous protest.
The September 2012 attack claimed the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
President Obama on Monday dismissed the congressional inquiry as a political “sideshow.”
“The fact that this keeps getting churned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations,” said the president.
But GOP lawmakers have vowed to continue their inquiry, with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) saying Sunday that additional State employees had sought to testify on the matter.
“We want to have the president do what he has said he would always do, and that is, be open and transparent,” said Chaffetz on Tuesday. “Thus far, the White House has not done that.”
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) last week also suggested that Obama could be impeached over the administration’s Benghazi response, which he called the “greatest cover-up in American history.”
“People may be starting to use the ‘I-word’ before too long,” said Inhofe.
But other Republican critics of the president have been reluctant to embrace impeachment. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said he didn’t believe Obama should be impeached.
"With all due respect, I think this is a serious issue," McCain said. "I will even give the president the benefit of the doubt on some of these things. We need a select committee."