Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) answered questions from a fervent anti-Obama constituent at a town hall this weekend, telling a woman that he would take a closer look at her birther conspiracy document before claiming there were enough House Republican votes to impeach the president, albeit for an unstated reason.
In a video uploaded to YouTube and reported on by BuzzFeed, Farenthold responded to a woman at a Saturday gathering in Luling, Texas. The woman began by asking the congressman if he'd sign on to a bill, recently discussed by a number of his Republican colleagues, based on the disproved conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii. The White House has released a long-form birth certificate for Obama, showing he was indeed born in the state.
Farenthold told his constituent he'd examine the document -- which she said proved Obama had "committed a felony" -- though he noted he thought it was too late to topple Obama based on the eligibility issue. The congressman then connected the woman's opposition to a question of how Congress might approach impeaching the president.
“You tie into a question I get a lot: 'If everybody’s so unhappy with what the president’s done, why don’t you impeach him?’” Farenthold said. “I’ll give you a real frank answer about that: If we were to impeach the president tomorrow, you could probably get the votes in the House of Representatives to do it. But it would go to the Senate, and he wouldn’t be convicted.”
Farenthold explained that House lawmakers are responsible for voting to bring forth Articles of Impeachment, which would in turn prompt a trial in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The congressman then argued that the nation could be damaged if Obama was ultimately found not guilty after an impeachment, though he didn't get specific on just what he thought Obama could be impeached for.
“What message do we send to America if we impeach Obama and he gets away with what he’s impeached for and he is found innocent? What then do we say is OK?” Farenthold said.
It's unclear exactly which high crimes and misdemeanors Farenthold thinks a majority of the House believe Obama has committed, but broader calls for impeachment have bubbled up in town halls as Republicans address their constituents during the August recess.
Last week, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) faced a disgruntled constituent who said he wanted to see House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) openly threaten Obama with impeachment if the president did not "start obeying the laws."