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 “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between President Donald Trump and former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired on May 9.
Chaffetz’s letter to the bureau requests for all records to be turned over to his panel by May 24. These documents, Chaffetz wrote, would “raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede” the FBI’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 Chaffetz––and untimely exit––might imperil the ongoing investigation into whether the president and his associates colluded with Russian operatives to win last year's election.
Jason Chaffetz, Chair of House Oversight, is resigning from Congress in June, just when oversight of this administration is needed the most.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 18, 2017
Jason Chaffetz has announced he's resigning from Congress on June 30th to spend more time with his family.— ImpeachTrump (@dumptrump33) May 18, 2017
Shorter, "I've lawyered up".
Jason Chaffetz would rather probe the National Park Service than Trump's alleged ties to Russia. Chaffetz is the problem.— America Resurgent (@ProgressOutlook) May 8, 2017
Russia also hacked GOP but didn't release info. Wonder what they found on Jason Chaffetz?— Diane Keddie (@dkbufny) May 18, 2017
Others within the party criticized Chaffetz for his inaction.
“If he’s a lame duck for another five weeks … why would you start such a big event, with the Comey hearing, and then switch horses in the middle of the stream?” asked one senior House Republican aide who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.