Influential Republicans are setting their sights on toppling the Obama administration as evidence of a cover-up over the assault on the Benghazi consulate gets stronger.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is now openly talking about impeachment, saying he does not believe Barack Obama will survive the remaining 3½ years of his presidency.
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“When a president lies to the American people and is part of a cover-up, he cannot continue to govern,” Huckabee said on his radio show Monday.
“As the facts come out, I think we're going to see something startling. And before it's over, I don't think this president will finish his term unless somehow they can delay it in Congress past the next 3½ years.”
Huckabee isn't alone in his belief that Obama could be toppled. The pressure is growing just as Congressional hearings on the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks that left four Americans dead are due to start on Wednesday.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who will chair those hearings as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said he intends to make the president "come clean."
"The administration has made a claim that for classified reasons they changed the story," Issa told Fox News' Sean Hannity. "We believe right now that may be the biggest lie of all, and we intend on making the president come clean as to, quote, 'What the classified reasons are that would justify lying to the American people.'"
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina added to the onslaught against the administration's handling of the assault.
"Political manipulation is rampant here," said Graham in an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. "The dam's about to break on Benghazi."
And former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton told Newsmax's Steve Malzberg on Monday that he too believes the growing scandal could lead to the "unraveling" of the Obama administration.
"This could be a hinge point for the Obama administration. It's that serious for them,'' said Bolton, who served under President George W. Bush.
Many in the GOP believe the cover-up began as the attack on the Benghazi consulate was going on. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stephens, was killed along with information management officer Sean Smith and security staff Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Obama's U.N. ambassador Susan Rice insisted from the start the attack was not a coordinated act of terror, but a protest that escalated. The administration was later forced to backtrack, saying Rice made her statement before all the information was known.
But that failed to stem the tide and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — the Democratic front-runner for presidency in 2016 — has now been accused of failing to send in troops to rescue Stephens and other staff.
Gregory Hicks, who became the top diplomat in Libya after Stevens was killed, claims troops who were ready to come to the rescue were told to stand down.
Lawyers representing Hicks and others now claim the administration is trying to intimidate them against speaking out in Issa's committee's hearings.
Huckabee said that as more reports come out about the deadly attack, and the truth emerges, Obama and his administration "will have lost the right to govern."
"This is not minor," he said. "It wasn't minor when Richard Nixon lied to the American people and worked with those in his administration to cover up what really happened in Watergate. But, I remind you — as bad as Watergate was, because it broke the trust between the president and the people — no one died.
"This is more serious because four Americans did, in fact, die."
Huckabee maintains that what happened in Benghazi is not political, but "goes all the way to the heart of the integrity of the United States government."
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Huckabee said Obama's best chance of avoiding impeachment would come if Democrats seize control of the House and keep their control of the Senate after the next round of Congressional elections in November 2014.
"They won't let it happen; not because they're protecting just the president, they're trying to protect their entire political party," he said. "If they try to protect the president and their party, and do so at the expense of the truth, their president and their party will go down."
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