WASHINGTON — A top adviser to President Obama said Friday that the White House believes Republicans might try to impeach the president.
"It would be foolish to discount the possibility that the Republicans would consider going down that path," top Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer told reporters at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
Pfeiffer — and Obama — have been actively discussing the seriousness of the impeachment talk since Sarah Palin brought it up and spurred some corners of the Republican Party to rally around the idea.
Top Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner have dismissed the idea of impeaching Obama, but Democrats have seized on it for fundraising and to cast the GOP as run by extremists in advance of the November elections.
Pfeiffer argued that despite wholesale establishment Republican rejection of impeachment talk, tea party pressure on Boehner and other top Republicans could easily overcome their reticence. He added that Boehner's lawsuit against the president could make impeachment more likely.
Given all the political hay Democrats are making from even the hint of impeachment, a reporter asked, wouldn't it be a good thing for Democrats and the White House if House Republicans impeached him?
"No," Pfeiffer said. "Impeachment is a very serious thing that has been bandied about in a very unserious way."
"We take it very seriously," he said.
Boehner aide Michael Steel called Pfeiffer's impeachment talk "a fundraising exercise for Democrats" and noted his boss "has publicly ruled out impeachment."
"We have a humanitarian crisis at our border, and the White House is making matters worse with inattention and mixed signals," Steel said. "It is telling, and sad, that a senior White House official is focused on political games, rather than helping these kids and securing the border."