A top Utah state lawmaker has said U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz may leave office by the end of June, a move that would call into question the future of the House Oversight Committee's investigation of President Donald Trump and his campaign's ties with Russian Federation.
It was then, he says, that he finally made the decision to leave Congress and his position as chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In April, Chaffetz, 50, announced on his personal Facebook page that he would not run for any public office in 2018, but left open that he "may run again for public office" at a later date.
"Julie and I are facing the reality of being empty nesters", he wrote.
He has started digging into President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and the former director's memo saying Trump asked him to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Though there has been much speculation about Chaffetz's reasons for resigning mid-term, including the possibility that he is taking a job at Fox News, he told reporters at a press conference Thursday afternoon that his overwhelming reason was because he was done with being away from his family so much. On Wednesday, he scheduled a hearing for next week in anticipation that Comey might testify.
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Rep. Devin Nunes, the cCairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had to recuse himself from that investigation after a weird incident where he emerged from the White House and seemed to suggest he had evidence backing up President Trump's groundless contention that he had been under surveillance by The Obama Admin.
According to Politico, multiple sources say Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, will resign on June 30.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday said his office is making plans to hold a special election to fill Chaffetz's seat - only the second time in state history a congressional vacancy has occurred. The first step involves winning the backing of the GOP Steering Committee, a subsection of rank and file lawmakers and members of leadership. The internal jockeying among House Republicans to succeed Chaffetz in that high-profile role kicked off Thursday, with at least three Oversight Committee members phoning members of the House Republican Steering Committee, which will select his successor.
The House Oversight Committee he heads is one of several congressional panels looking into aspects of Russia's alleged attempts to influence the USA presidential election.
Gowdy has been a go-to choice for Republicans for a variety of high-profile positions and was even a top candidate to replace Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.