Chaffetz resignation latest twist in GOP oversight of Trump

Gladys Abbott
May 20, 2017

"If this memo exists, I need to see it right away", Chaffetz told The Associated Press in a phone interview earlier this week, adding, "If we need a subpoena, we'll do it".

Chaffetz, in a letter to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, said he will step down effective June 30.

With several investigations still ongoing, Chaffetz said he was not anxious about other Republican members of the committee continuing his work.

He said one of his colleagues can handle the Trump investigation, adding that his committee must first find out from the U.S. Department of Justice if documents exist to verify allegations of Trump's tampering with the FBI review of his campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

"He has a lot of support from our conference, and given the responsibilities that come with the position, and his past pedigree [as a prosecutor], he's ideal for the job", said Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., who intends to nominate Gowdy for the post. But until his decisive moves this week, critics suggested that he had been less interested in probing potential wrongdoing inside the Trump administration.

And the 3rd District, seen here, is historically one of the most Republican districts in the nation - with the ultimate GOP nominee after August 15 very likely to win the seat in November.

One possible replacement for Chaffetz on the Oversight Committee is Rep. Trey Gowdy, the former SC prosecutor who chaired the special Benghazi investigative committee and a close Chaffetz friend.

Provo Mayor John Curtis released a statement Thursday after Chaffetz's announcement, saying he will come to a decision in the coming days about whether or not to run.

But President Trump complicated Chaffetz's life.

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Chaffetz's abrupt exit upends the latest of the Republican-controlled congressional investigations into Trump and also marks a sudden halt to Chaffetz's decade-long climb to power.

When it appeared likely that Clinton would win the election, Chaffetz bragged that he would use his committee to attack her, telling The Washington Post, "We've got two years' worth of material already lined up".

Liberals said that he did not go after the incoming administration with almost the vigor used against the prior Democratic administration.

"I put some things into motion", Chaffetz said on KSL's The Doug Wright Show when asked whether he is still considering leaving Congress early after deciding to not seek re-election 2018. But he did not provide a date for his departure until Thursday. He said he hoped to preside over one final hearing on a botched Obama administration "gun-walking" program, in which federal authorities let gun-runners purchase firearms in hopes of disrupting gun smuggling rings.

Serving you in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost nine years has been a rare honor and privilege.

Chaffetz is head of a committee that is the House's investigatory arm into the Executive Branch.

He has not ruled out a run for Utah governor in 2020.

Well, I saved a version of that "Only Nixon" bit for the editorial that was published Friday's Tribune.

"I told voters I did not believe Congress should be a lifetime career", he said in the text addressed to his constituents.

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