Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Chaffetz will resign, raising doubts about Trump probe

Chaffetz will resign, raising doubts about Trump probe

Jason Chaffetz says he will resign from Congress on June 30, raising questions about the probe of President Donald Trump's ties to Russian Federation.

Chaffetz said last month he would not seek re-election in 2018 and that he was considering leaving office early.

Chaffetz made the announcement in a statement on his website, ending weeks of speculation about his plans.

In his first substantive comments about the appointment of a special counsel to probe Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, President Donald Trump denied that his campaign had been involved in any collusion with Moscow, as he declared that the probe "divides the country".

Chaffetz's reported early departure comes after he took to Twitter on Wednesday to announce that the House Oversight Committee "officially scheduled" a hearing with former FBI Director James Comey - though he hasn't heard back yet.

On Tuesday, Chaffetz demanded that the Federal Bureau of Investigation turn over all documents in its possession concerning communications between Trump and James Comey, whom Trump fired last week as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

Chaffetz spent years conducting investigations into Benghazi, created to attack Hillary Clinton, but has bristled at providing the most basic oversight of President Donald Trump.

Chaffetz has been the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, a position he used to promote sinister theories about Hillary Clinton's emails, including a tweet days before the election that claimed the FBI's investigation had been "re-opened".

Politico says that Chaffetz' office declined to comment on the situation.

He said he hoped other members of his committee would keep the investigation going.

"This week I sent a letter to Governor Herbert indicating my intention to resign from Congress effective June 30, 2017", Chaffetz wrote in a letter to his constituents.

Chaffetz wields significant power as the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Herbert, whose chief of staff was at one time Chaffetz' chief of staff, said he hadn't talked directly with the congressman.

"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.

If Sanford opts to pursue chairmanship of the committee, he would have the advantage of seniority over Gowdy in terms of panel membership.

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