Fox Political Analyst Suggests Impeachment Possible, Misrepresents Senator Specter

<p><img hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="media/2006-01-17-FNCFFHenican.jpg" />According to Ellis Henican, the &quot;I-word [is] even being mentioned on Capitol Hill.&quot; Henican, a Fox News analyst and Newsday columnist, appeared on the January 17<sup>th</sup> edition of Fox and Friends at 6:18AM EST. He excitedly referenced an impeachment mention during Arlen Specter’s January 15th appearance on ABC's This Week. Henican described Arlen Specter as &quot;a Republican, incidentally, who doesn’t want the President to break the law.&quot; It might be helpful to know what Specter actually said. George Stephanopoulos did ask the senator, at 9:07AM EST, what would be the remedy if the President broke the law. Specter replied: </p><blockquote style="margin-right: 0px;" dir="ltr"><p>&quot;Well, the remedy could be a variety of things. <b>A president, and I’m not suggesting remotely that there is any basis, but your asking, really, theory, what’s the remedy, impeachment is the remedy</b>. After impeachment you can have a criminal prosecution. But the principal remedy under our society is to pay a political price.&quot; (Emphasis added)</p></blockquote><p>Two minutes later, Stephanopoulos returned to the issue and asked a follow up: </p><blockquote style="margin-right: 0px;" dir="ltr"><p>Stephanopoulos: &quot;You know, you mentioned the possibility, the remote possibility of impeachment. Are you willing to follow this as far as it needs to go?&quot;</p><p>Specter:<b> (Laughs) &quot;I sure am, but I don’t see any talk about impeachment here. I don’t think anyone doubts that the President is making a good faith effort, that he sees a real problem, as we all do. </b>And he is acting in a way that he feels he must. I’ve had an opportunity to discuss a range of issues with him. He’s been to Pennsylvania a lot and I get a chance to talk to him.&quot; (Emphasis added)</p></blockquote><p>Now, in fairness to Henican, he did later describe Specter’s comments in more hypothetical terms: </p><blockquote style="margin-right: 0px;" dir="ltr"><p>&quot;But the fact is that you’ve got the Republican chairman of judiciary committee saying, hey, saying frankly what every sophomore in high school knows, which is if the President violated the law, criminal prosecution and impeachment are the remedies.&quot; </p></blockquote><p>His earlier comments, however, were obviously trying to gin up some excitement by implying that Arlen Specter considers impeachment a possibility for the President. Clearly, he does not. </p><p>A partial transcript of Fox and Friends and This Week follows: </p><p>1/17/06</p><p>Fox and Friends 06:18 AM EST</p><p>Kiran Chetry</p><p>Ellis Henican</p><p>Pete Snyder (RNC strategist)</p><p>Kiran Chetry: &quot;Well, Ellis, let me ask you this, is this going to be the election year issue for Democrats, this NSA wiretapping controversy?&quot; </p><p>Ellis Henican: &quot;Well, one issue. It’s not about to bump Iraq out of the election debate. I’m thrilled to hear, by the way, that Pete is against the President breaking the law. And I think a lot of decent people are.&quot;</p><p>Pete Snyder: (Laughs) &quot;Ellis, didn’t say that one.&quot;</p><p>Henican: &quot;Including the Congressional Research Service and others who have said, you know, this thing really is legally problematic. I think it’s going to be a big issue. I noticed the I-word even being mentioned on Capitol Hill.&quot; </p><p>Chetry: &quot;What you are referring to is Arlen Specter, the Senator out of Pennsylvania saying </p><p>that-&quot;</p><p>Henican: &quot;That’s right. Another Republican, incidentally, who doesn’t want the President to break the law.&quot;</p><p>Snyder: &quot;Ellis. Hey Ellis. Ellis, if Arlen Specter is handling any form of impeachment- that’s fabulous. He seemed to have a bit of an issue the last time around. He had to use Scottish law. Is that correct?&quot;</p><p>Henican: &quot;Here’s what’s interesting about that, Pete. Specter, people have all kinds of opinions about that. But the fact is that you’ve got the Republican chairman of judiciary committee saying, hey, saying frankly what every sophomore in high school knows, which is if the President violated the law, criminal prosecution and impeachment are the remedies. Boy, things are changing quickly on Capitol Hill, buddy.&quot; </p><p>Snyder: &quot;Ellis, that’s just not the case. The evidence isn’t there. The evidence just isn’t there. And I think if you look back at the transcript, Specter said he doesn’t think impeachment would be an option.&quot;</p><p>Henican: &quot;He says we’re not there yet. But these hearing next month are going to be a lot of fun.&quot; </p><p>Snyder: (Laughs) &quot;Spin away. Spin away.&quot; </p><p>Chetry: &quot;As the debate still continues among judicial watchdogs as to whether the law was broken.&quot;</p><p>Henican: &quot;The President’s defenders say all it’s perfectly fine. He can do whatever he wants. I don’t think the law says that.&quot;</p><p /><p>This Week</p><p>1/15/06</p><p>9:07AM EST</p><p>George Stephanopoulos: &quot;You know, if the President did break the law, or circumvent the law, what’s the remedy?&quot;</p><p>Arlen Specter: &quot;Well, the remedy could be a variety of things. A president, and I’m not suggesting remotely that there is any basis, but your asking, really, theory, what’s the remedy, impeachment is the remedy. After impeachment you can have a criminal prosecution. But the principal remedy under our society is to pay a political price.&quot;</p><p>9:09AM EST</p><p>Stephanopoulos: &quot;You know, you mentioned the possibility, the remote possibility of impeachment. Are you willing to follow this as far as it needs to go?&quot;</p><p>Specter: (Laughs) &quot;I sure am, but I don’t see any talk about impeachment here. I don’t think anyone doubts that the President is making a good faith effort, that he sees a real problem, as we all do. And he is acting in a way that he feels he must. I’ve had an opportunity to discuss a range of issues with him. He’s been to Pennsylvania a lot and I get a chance to talk to him.&quot; </p><p align="center"> </p><p />

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org