Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has just two weeks left in office but took the time to take pot-shots at President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He said in a radio interview with Sharyl Atkisson of Sinclair Broadcast Group, “The reality is, sadly, I don’t see much difference between the Trump administration and the (Barack) Obama administration.”
Chaffetz, announced his resignation last month while citing health and family reasons. He chaired the House Oversight Committee. In the interview, he said that the “floodgates” will soon open and that the committee will receive documents that the Obama administration never released that concern investigations into Hillary Clinton, the Fast and Furious arms deal fiasco, and the IRS’ targetting of conservative organizations.
“In many ways, it’s almost worse because we’re getting nothing, and that’s terribly frustrating and, with all due respect, the attorney general [Jeff Sessions] has not changed at all. I find him to be worse than what I saw with Loretta Lynch in terms of releasing documents and making things available. I just, that’s my experience, and that’s not what I expected.”
Chaffetz pointed out that the Trump administration has not fired IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, despite calls by Republicans, over allegations that the tax agency targeted tea party groups for audits. Koskinen and IRS official Lois Lerner appeared before Congressional committees during the last two years of the Obama administration. Chaffetz moved to impeach Koskinen after the Obama administration refused to fire him. Eventually, the Republican-controlled leadership of the House of Representatives refused to act on a discharge petition on the matter. In December 2016, the chamber sent the issue to the Judiciary Committee for consideration, where it remains.
In the radio interview, Chaffetz said, “We tried to issue subpoenas. We tried to hold people in contempt and the Obama administration said ‘no,’ and the Trump administration came in and did zero,” Chaffetz said. “Nothing. Nothing changed.” When asked what the people at the top of the Trump administration would say about the refusal by the State and Justice departments to release documents, Chaffetz said "I think that if we went to the senior-most people, even the President himself, they would pulling their hair out, and they would hate to hear that."
Additionally, Chaffetz expressed concern that the power of the legislative branch continues to be diminished, noting that the Obama administration eventually refused to send officials to be questioned by Congressional committees. He also complained that the GOP requirements for dues payments that run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the need for campaign funds, put an undue strain on him.
Chaffetz leaves office on June 30.