Chaffetz is checked out.
With less than two weeks left before his early exit from Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) trashed President Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a no-holds-barred interview.
Chaffetz — an ardent Obama critic who withdrew his Trump endorsement weeks before the 2016 election — said he thinks the new administration is already doing a worse job with transparency and helping congressional investigations.
“The reality is, sadly, I don’t see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration,” Chaffetz told the Sinclair Broadcast Group on Sunday.
“I thought there would be this, these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon. In many ways, it’s almost worse because we’re getting nothing, and that’s terribly frustrating.”
Chaffetz, who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, placed the biggest blame on Sessions for withholding documents his panel could have used for probes.
“With all due respect, the attorney general has not changed at all,” he said.
“I find him to be worse than what I saw with (former Attorney General) Loretta Lynch in terms of releasing documents and making things available. That’s my experience, and that’s not what I expected.”
He claimed Sessions had held up his committee’s plans to continue investigating two Obama-era matters — the “Fast and Furious” firearms deals and the IRS’ alleged unfair treatment of conservative groups.
“I mean, we have been in court trying to pry those documents out of the Department of Justice and still to this day, they will not give us those documents,” he said.
“And at the State Department, nothing. Stone-cold silence…I think if we went to the senior-most people, even the President himself, they would be pulling their hair out and they would hate to hear that. But within the bowels of the organization, they just seem to circle the wagons and think, ‘Oh we can just wait you out. We can just wait you out.’”
In Chaffetz’s case, that was correct. The five-term congressman announced in April that he would not seek reelection to his House seat. One month later, he said he would be resigning ahead of the end of his term. He is planning to leave Congress June 30, with no immediate plans announced so far.
But he doesn’t seem too broken up about his departure.
“Congress doesn’t stand up for itself,” he said when asked if the legislative branch is “broken.”
“I think it’s really lost its way…The legislative branch is going to get weaker and weaker.”