Congressman Jason Chaffetz announced today that he won’t be seeking reelection in 2018 and that he won’t be running for any other office either. Now there’s scattered buzz that he may not even finish out his current term, which makes no sense on its face considering that his party is in charge and he’s the Chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee. But that’s because he’s not just bailing on Congress; he’s running from his troubles.
Five days ago we wrote that Russia was holding blackmail material on Jason Chaffetz according to reliable sourcing, and that it was forcing him to do its bidding with regard to Donald Trump (link). The short of it: Russia was forcing Chaffetz to do nothing with regard to Trump. Don’t investigate his Russia scandal. Prevent anyone on his committee from doing the same. And the FBI learned about it.
In that light, it’s not all that difficult to understand why Jason Chaffetz is bailing. From all signs the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia has progressed to the point that it’s all going to come out in the wash. The best thing Chaffetz can do is to be as far away from Washington as possible when it does.
If he’s a forgotten man by then, or if everyone knows he’s on his way out, any details that emerge about him will be overshadowed by the details that emerge about Trump and his advisers and associates. So while it’s a bit stunning to see Chaffetz make this announcement out of nowhere, it’s not surprising. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report