Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:22 AM

Retiring Republican Jason Chaffetz Could Be Trump’s Worst Nightmare

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah shocked Washington this week when he announced that this will be his last term in Congress. His announcement could turn out to be the most consequential event of Trump’s presidency. Yet the media are treating it as just another politician plotting his next move up the political ladder.

Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That committee is investigating the myriad ways Trump and his kids are blurring the lines between their businesses and his presidency.

The House Oversight Committee is asking for details on how and when the Trump Organization will donate profits made from foreign government officials, which President Trump first promised to do in January. …

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (Md) in a letter Friday asked one of Trump’s lawyers for details as to how and when those donations would be made. …

Meanwhile, recent news accounts have reported that the Trump Organization may have received payments from foreign government sources since President Trump’s inauguration.

(The Hill, April 21, 2017)

The consensus in Washington is that the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating ties between Trump’s campaign and Putin’s Russia, will be the bane of Trump’s presidency. But I think Chaffetz’s Oversight Committee, which is investigating his conflicts of interest, will have that honor.

Chances are that your only point of reference for his name stems from the way he famously withdrew his endorsement after Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” comment went viral.

I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine. My wife and I, we have a 15-year-old daughter, and if I can’t look her in the eye and tell her these things, I can’t endorse this person.

(Salt Lake City Fox 13, Politico, October 7, 2016)

Except that Chaffetz soon betrayed his celebrated moral rectitude with this Clintonian spin:

@jasoninthehouse

I will not defend or endorse @realDonaldTrump, but I am voting for him. HRC is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA.

9:05 PM – 26 Oct 2016

I suspect his conscience has been eating away at him ever since that cowardly, politically expedient flip-flop. After all, it made every time he told his young daughter to do the right thing seem like sheer hypocrisy. Not to mention the unbearable shame he must feel every time he looks her in the eye these days.

Representative Jason Chaffetz, the powerful chairman of the House oversight committee, told supporters on Wednesday that he would not seek re-election to Congress — or run for any office — in 2018.

Mr. Chaffetz, 50, a Utah Republican who relished his oversight role more under a Democratic administration, said he was ready to return to the private sector after more than 13 years in public service, calling his decision a “personal” one.

(New York Times, April 19, 2017)

Despite his pro-forma denial of any further political ambition, the consensus in Washington is that he wants to run for senator or governor. But I think this devout Mormon just wants to atone for sacrificing his religious morals and political principles at the altar of Trump’s presidential ambition.

Of course, there’s no better way to atone than to oversee a thorough investigation of the conflicts of interest that define Trump’s presidency. More to the point, no investigator is more dogged than a religious one on a mission as much to expiate his sins as to vindicate justice.

So, if you’re one of the many millions now praying for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump, salvation will come not from the committee investigating his Russian ties but from the one investigating his conflicts of interest. And you can bet the ranking Democratic member of this Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, will be encouraging Chaffetz every day to do the right thing for the country, and then retire a hero.

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Friday, at 8:17 p.m.

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