WASHINGTON — Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is planning to announce Thursday that he will leave Congress in June, according to two people familiar with his plans.
Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced last month that he had “made a personal decision to return to the private sector” and would not seek re-election or run for any other political office in 2018.
The decision comes days after Chaffetz took an aggressive posture after reports emerged that former FBI director James Comey alleged in private memos that he had been pressured by President Donald Trump to end an investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser at the time.
Chaffetz requested those memos and other records from the FBI on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he scheduled a hearing for next week in anticipation that Comey might testify.
Chaffetz and a spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment on reports of his departure. Politico first reported the news Thursday.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said Thursday that he had not spoken to Chaffetz about his intentions.
As the head of the House’s main investigative committee since 2015, Chaffetz became a prime critic of President Barack Obama’s administration and, crucially, former secretary of state and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. But until his recent moves, critics suggested that he had been less interested in probing potential wrongdoing inside the Trump administration.
Chaffetz’s exit will accelerate internal jockeying among House Republicans to succeed him as the chairman of the high-profile Oversight Committee.
The Washington Post’s David Weigel contributed to this report.