Now that he’s indicated he’s not running for re-election, Chairman Jason Chaffetz is wielding the gavel he controls on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to willfully go after the Trump administration.
One day after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the Utah Republican, known for using the chairmanship to attract the national spotlight under the Obama administration, is asking the Department of Justice’s Inspector General to probe the “findings and circumstances” surrounding Comey’s controversial departure.
Comey was fired by Trump late Tuesday.
Chaffetz said in a letter to Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz he wants that review to be in addition to the agency’s review of “allegations regarding certain actions” by DOJ and the FBI ahead of the 2016 election.
“You stated previously that your work includes an examination of whether Comey’s public communications and notifications to Congress about the Clinton investigation comported with Justice Department and FBI policies and procedures,” Chaffetz wrote.
“You separately stated ‘if circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.’” Chaffetz wrote. “The recommendation to remove Comey indeed warrants such consideration.”
White House officials cited Comey’s handling of an email investigation centered on former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as a means to fire him.
On Wednesday, the administration also cited Comey’s admission before a Senate Intelligence Committee last week that the agency was also investigation possible links between Trump’s campaign associates and Russian officials.
Chaffetz went after Clinton relentlessly during the presidential campaign over her mishandling of classified information in emails. The Oversight Committee hauled Comey in for a public hearing shortly after the former FBI Director announced he would not recommend the Department of Justice bring charges against the former first lady.
Chaffetz had indicated he still wanted to investigate the Clinton email matter even after she lost the election. Since Trump assumed office, Chaffetz had stayed largely quiet about investigating the Trump administration until he announced last month he would not be seeking re-election in 2018.