A Brief History of GOP Calls for Obama's Impeachment, From Benghazi to Bergdahl

Allen West is hardly alone.

Rep. Allen West talks to reporters while flanked by his fellow house republican freshman about an extension to the payroll tax cuts, in Washington, D.C., on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. (National Journal)

Allen West wants President Obama to be impeached over the Taliban prisoner swap.

In a blog post titled, "The case for impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama," the Florida Republican and former congressman wrote that exchanging "traitor" Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Afghan Taliban members should be an impeachable offense.

After supposedly going AWOL, Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban and held in Afghanistan for five years. The five senior Taliban members who were released had been detained at Guantanamo Bay, and will now spend another year in Qatar. (As a refresher, under the Constitution, the president may be impeached for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.")

"Why would the United States acquiesce to the demands of a non-state, nonuniform terrorist organization — the Taliban? The Taliban is our enemy and it is not a nation-state with whom we should enter into negotiations," West wrote on Tuesday. "Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that Barack Hussein Obama's unilateral negotiations with terrorists and the ensuing release of their key leadership without consult — mandated by law — with the U.S. Congress represents high crimes and misdemeanors, an impeachable offense."

Back in 2010, Jonathan Chait predicted that by the end of Obama's second term, the House of Representatives would vote to impeach him. "Wait, you say. What will they impeach him over?" Chait wrote. "You can always find something. Mini-scandals break out regularly in Washington."

The Bergdahl affair (and West's assertion that it's an impeachable offense) is the latest iteration of these "mini-scandals." The difference is that, unlike the scandal surrounding Benghazi and the IRS's perceived political targeting, this presents an ongoing threat. If one of the released Taliban operatives were to become involved in a future terrorist attack, that's when it evolves into a full-grown, adult scandal.

Here's a short rundown of other White House scandals (or "scandals") that have led Republicans to call for Obama's impeachment (and for the full list, Wikipedia has you covered):

Few things get tea-party conservatives' blood boiling faster than Benghazi, the IRS scandal, and the Affordable Care Act. But it's not just middle-class Joes at tea-party rallies who get exercised about the idea of impeaching the president. Last week, McKay Coppins wrote about upper-crust conservatives' efforts to join the Impeach Obama movement. At a tony event at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, elite conservatives celebrated the release of a new book titled Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case For Obama's Impeachment.

The book's author, Andrew McCarthy (a former federal prosecutor), does not directly argue for actually impeaching Obama. Instead, Coppins wrote, he "makes a more subdued argument; that Obama has abused his office, and that actively threatening impeachment is the best way for Congress to reign in the powers of the executive branch."

In this way, Republicans can concede that impeaching Obama is an unlikely scenario — but they're good at staying on message nonetheless.