Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has announced his early departure from Congress.
Chaffetz plans to step down on June 30. Chaffetz is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Earlier this week, Chaffetz demanded that FBI officials turn over â€œmemoranda, notes, summaries and recordingsâ€ of discussions between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired on May 9.
Chaffetzâ€™s letter to the bureau requests for all records to be turned over to his panel by May 24. These documents, Chaffetz wrote, would â€œraise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impedeâ€ the FBIâ€™s investigation.
Chaffetz told reporters he was “trying to do the right thing” by notifying his colleagues in the House of his departure weeks before he steps down. He added that the transition to a new Oversight chairman “doesn’t have to be immediate but also doesn’t have to be on my last day either.” (The House will convene on June 5 to consider his replacement.
But many on social media raised their concerns that Chaffetzâ€“â€“and untimely exitâ€“â€“might imperil the ongoing investigation into whether the president and his associates colluded with Russian operatives to win last year’s election.
Others within the party criticized Chaffetz for his inaction.
â€œIf heâ€™s a lame duck for another five weeks â€¦ why would you start such a big event, with the Comey hearing, and then switch horses in the middle of the stream?â€ asked one senior House Republican aide who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.