The comments were the most forceful to date and came after the Ohio Republican and aides had concluded after several days of discussion that he needed to address the issue more directly. Boehner had previously stated that the House had no plans to impeach the president.
“This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president's own staff -- and coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they're trying to rally their people to give money and show up in this year's election,” Boehner said during a news conference. “We have no plans to impeach the president; we have no future plans. Listen, it's all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”
The specter of impeachment was first raised by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and has since been picked up by a few other conservative insurgents. But it has minuscule support among Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Congressional leaders and most of the rank-and-file believe it is bad politics and have no appetite for it in any event. They fear it could boost Democratic turnout and fundraising ahead of midterm elections that otherwise appear to favor the GOP.
But even as Boehner has repeatedly dismissed suggestions that impeachment was an option, the White House and congressional Democrats have continued to fuel the story.
House Democrats warned their supporters in an email fundraising appeal over the weekend that Obama's presidency could be in jeopardy, generating $2.1 million in online donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Boehner has emphasized that he believes the House lawsuit against the Obama administration was the proper avenue to what Republicans believe has been egregious executive overreach by the president. The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday to authorize the lawsuit, which is focused on unilateral changes Obama made to the Affordable Care Act after it was signed into law.
The DCCC’s fundraising haul and Democrats’ concerted strategy for pushing impeachment into the public eye led Boehner this week to offer what House Republican leaders hope are comments that will make clear that impeachment isn’t being considered, not even privately as something to pursue if the GOP wins the Senate.
“People were pretty frustrated before today that it hadn't yet been taken off the table,” a House Republican aide said.