Jason Chaffetz is less than two weeks away from no longer being a member of Congress. It’s still unclear as to why he’s resigning just a few months into his new term, and his explanations thus far have been gibberish. But on his way out the door, Chaffetz is taking some pointed parting shots. Notably, he’s aiming his barbs at Donald Trump.
Chaffetz did a television interview which aired today. In it he made a point of criticizing Donald Trump, saying he doesn’t “see much difference” between the Trump administration and the Obama administration (link). He went on to make clear that he was referring to his own requests for documents in his role as chair of the House Oversight Committee: “I thought there would be this, these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted.” Chaffetz even goes on to say that Jeff Sessions is “worse” than previous Attorney General Loretta Lynch in terms of document requests.
Elsewhere in the interview, Jason Chaffetz bemoaned the unwillingness of Congress to “play offense” by trying to force the White House to provide documents and testimony. The upshot seems to be that Chaffetz judges the merits of any given presidential administration, whether it be Republican or Democrat, based on its willingness to defer to the power plays of congressional committee chairmen. Whether he intended to or not, Chaffetz is giving off the impression that he cares more about his own personal power in Congress than he does about whether an administration does good or harm to the country.
The irony is that Jason Chaffetz spent the entire Obama administration running partisan investigations into phony scandals that he had helped invent about President Obama and Hillary Clinton and others. So his latest explanation for his resignation from Congress makes no sense to begin with, and even less sense within the context of his own record. But on June 30th his tenure will be over.
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