Rep. Chaffetz Quits Congress, Trump Investigation To Fade
Thursday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), 50 anni, announced he will resign from Congress next month, saying a “mid-life crisis” had compelled him to step away from his Chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee just as it is poised to investigate President Donald Trump’s sacking of James Comey the former FBI Director.
The announcement by Mr. Chaffetz was the latest upending of the Republican-controlled congressional investigations into President Trump.
Mr. Chaffetz’s announcement came a day after he tweeted that he had invited ex-FBI Director James Comey to testify next week at a hearing of the oversight committee he leads.
Mr. Comey was fired last week amid an FBI investigation into whether President Trump’s presidential campaign associates colluded with Russia to influence the Presidential election outcome to benefit him.
Mr. Chaffetz had just started his 5th term in Congress, used his post as chair of the oversight committee to doggedly investigate Hillary Clinton before the Y 2016 Presidential election and raise his political profile.
But President Trump complicated Chaffetz’s life.
He rescinded his endorsement of Donald Trump last year after recordings surfaced of the reality show star bragging about groping women, only to hastily re-endorse Mr. Trump shortly before the FBI announced it was reviving its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-Mails.
After Donald Trump won the election, Mr. Chaffetz became a lightning rod for criticism that Republicans were not aggressively policing President Trump.
Liberals said that he did not go after the incoming administration with nearly the vigor used against the prior Democratic administration. Utah constituents booed him at a February town hall, and a novice Democratic candidate raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in online donations when she announced her long-shot challenge to him weeks later.
Last month, Mr. Chaffetz stunned the political world by saying he would leave Congress before his current term ends in Y 2018. But he did not provide a date for his departure until Thursday.
He said he hoped other members of his committee would keep the investigation going.
“There are lots of good people who care about these issues and are well-suited to carry out these investigations,” he said.
Mr. Chaffetz is the second House Republican who is stepping away from a Trump investigation.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the cCairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had to recuse himself from that investigation after a bizarre incident where he emerged from the White House and seemed to suggest he had evidence backing up President Trump’s groundless contention that he had been under surveillance by The Obama Admin. Republican Rep. K. Michael Conaway is now overseeing that probe.
A possible replacement for Mr. Chaffetz on the committee is Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) a former prosecutor who chaired the special Benghazi investigative committee and a close friend of Mr. Chaffetz friend.
Thursday, Mr. Gowdy released a statement saying he was talking to other members about the Chairmanship.
Mr. Chaffetz said his last day will be June 30.
He said he hoped to preside over one final hearing on a botched Obama Admin “gun-walking” program, in which federal authorities let gun-runners purchase firearms in hopes of disrupting gun smuggling rings.
Mr. Chaffetz was 1st elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Y 2008, he became Chairman of the House Oversight Committee in Y 2015.
Prior to his time in office, he worked in communications for more than a decade and served as campaign manager for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R)
“I kind of had a little bit of a midlife crisis. I turned 50, I’m sleeping on a cot,” Mr. Chaffetz said of his life as a congressman in Washington. “The overwhelming driving force is the idea that I just love my family. And a lot of people will never ever believe that, but that is the truth.”
Have a terrific weekend.