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Chaffetz resignation latest twist in GOP oversight of Trump

19 May 2017, 09:48 | Taylor George

The coveted House Oversight gavel is due to change hands, as chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) steps down from Congress to become a cable TV commentator.

According to Politico, Chaffetz will likely make the announcement later today.

"Julie and I are facing the reality of being empty nesters", he wrote.

Chaffetz has been active in the House's probe into links between the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the Russians.

Chaffetz is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, one of the USA government bodies looking into Trump's decision to fire James Comeyas the head of Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as into claims about links between Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Moscow. The Washingtonian reported on Monday that Chaffetz may join Fox News after leaving office.

Thursday's surprise announcement comes shortly after the Republican leader subpoenaed memos of former FBI Director James Comey, who is expected to testify before the Oversight Committee next week.

He led the House's Benghazi select committee that went after then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Chaffetz said Thursday in Utah that he hopes to find out from the U.S. Department of Justice within the next few weeks if they exist and if they'll share them with the House Oversight Committee he chairs.

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Chaffetz told CBS News this week that he wants to conduct the Comey hearing "as publicly as we possibly can".

Chaffetz knows the governor's office well, having served as Jon Huntsman's chief of staff before running for the House.

Chaffetz, 50, did not hint at future career plans in a letter addressed to constituents, only that his decision was based on family considerations. Sitting next to his wife, Julie, and their dog, Ruby, Chaffetz said after almost eight in years in Congress, he wanted a change.

The House Oversight Committee he heads is one of several congressional panels looking into aspects of Russia's alleged attempts to influence the US presidential election.

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

"I loved being in the driver's seat, but. there are lots of good people who care about these issues and are well-suited to carry out these investigations", he said.

Gowdy did not answer questions Thursday about his interest in the position, and his spokeswoman acknowledged discussions but would not say he is actively seeking the post.



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