Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Wednesday that President Barack Obama was getting "getting perilously close" to the constitutional standard for impeachment. Coburn was speaking at the Muskogee Civic Center in Oklahoma.
"What you have to do is you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president, and that's called impeachment," Coburn said, responding to a question about holding President Obama accountable. "That's not something you take lightly, and you have to use a historical precedent of what that means. I think there's some intended violation of the law in this administration, but I also think there's a ton of incompetence, of people who are making decisions."
"Even if there is incompetence, the IRS forces me to abide by the law," a constituent responded to Coburn.
"No, I agree," Coburn said. "My little wiggle out of that when I get that written to me is I believe that needs to be evaluated and determined, but thank goodness it doesn't have to happen in the Senate until they've brought charges in the House. Those are serious things, but we're in a serious time. I don't have the legal background to know if that rises to high crimes and misdemeanor, but I think they're getting perilously close."
Coburn then mentioned a story of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees telling him that officials at Homeland Security said to "ignore all the background" and just "approve people."
"I'm documenting all this stuff as it goes along, but I don't know where that level is," Coburn added.
"Barack Obama is personal friend of mine. He became my friend in the Senate but that does not mean I agree in any way with what he's doing or how he's doing it. And I quite frankly think he's in a difficult position he's put himself in, and if it continues, I think we're going to have another constitutional crisis in our country in terms of the presidency," Coburn concluded.
The full video of Coburn's remarks has been embedded below.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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