House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced Thursday that he will be leaving Congress early. Chaffetz said Thursday that he will resign from Congress next month, a move that calls into question the future of the House Ove. The Utah Republican heads up the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is the chamber's lead investigative panel. Sitting next to his wife, Julie, and their dog, Ruby, Chaffetz said after almost eight in years in Congress, he wanted a change.
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.
The top investigative body in the House recently requested James Comey's memos and invited the fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director to testify next week before its panel.
The announcement Thursday likely came on the heels of a report from Politico indicating that Chaffetz was not planning to serve out his current term, with the Utah congressman supposedly considering a deal to appear on Fox News. "I hope whoever takes his place will do better than he did at a proper investigation of all that garbage with ties to Russian Federation".
Chaffetz has faced criticism recently for his role in investigating President Donald Trump and his administration. Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Agency, had to recuse himself from that investigation after a freakish incident where he emerged from the White House and seemed to suggest he had evidence backing up Trump's groundless contention that he had been surveilled by the Obama administration.
Chaffetz' dogged investigation of Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails from his committee chair over the last several years earned him acclaim from his party and helped him carve out a larger platform with frequent appearances on cable TV.
But Trump complicated Chaffetz's life.
He rescinded his endorsement of Trump a year ago after recordings surfaced of the reality show star bragging about groping women, with Chaffetz saying he couldn't look his teenage daughter in the eye and support Trump.
Chaffetz easily won all five of his elections.
After Trump won, liberals hammered him for not going after Trump's administration with almost the vigor used against Democrats. Constituents booed him at a raucous February town hall, and a novice Democratic candidate raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in online donations when she announced her longshot challenge to him weeks later. But he did not provide a date for his departure until Thursday.
Chaffetz called his nine years in the House a "rare honor and privilege". Chaffetz became chairman of the House Oversight committee in 2015.
Some Utah Republican leaders are openly fuming over Chaffetz's apparent decision to leave office early.
Chaffetz became a campaign manager and chief of staff to former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. but they had a falling out in 2012 when Chaffetz endorsed Mitt Romney for president over Huntsman.
Chaffetz said he had a "little bit of a midlife crisis" in March when he turned 50. "But when you like what you do and you enjoy your job, but you love your family, at some point you have to make a choice, and I just choose my family much more than I do my life in Congress". "I just haven't seen it".
"A lot of people will never believe that", he said.