Many Congressmen have been actively investigating whether or not President colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. One of the leading representatives looking into the situation is Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). Up until recently, many expected him to be a long-time congressman. However, he recently announced that he won’t be seeking re-election and it was suggested that he may be ending his term early.
We might now know why Chaffetz is leaving early. Sources close to him that he’s been telling everyone he’s planning on going to Fox once he leaves office. This could start as early as July, meaning he may not finish his term.
Earlier this year, Chaffetz announced that he would not be seeking re-election. After making his announcement, he wrote on Facebook that he was making a “personal decision to return to the private sector.” According to two Republican legislators and four senior House Republican aides, he’s been telling colleagues that he intends to take on a “substantial role” at Fox.
When asked what they thought about his possible transition to Fox, one aide said, “let’s just say that when Jason told us he was headed to Fox, no one was surprised.” This is because Chaffetz had been on the channel many times and was very comfortable on camera. The source continued, “he’s probably one of the most media-capable members in the House,” adding, “just based on total time spent on a television camera.” By leaving office to go to Fox, he stands to profit immensely.
Another aide added, “I knew he was gunning for it…Fox was his first choice once he announced his plans [to resign] .” While it’s good that Chaffetz, an outspoken opponent of Trump, will be leaving office, his new role at Fox may be problematic. He could potentially use the platform to further attack Trump and spread conspiracy theories about the president.
The most recent rumor that he’s started spreading about the president has to do with the firing of James Comey, the former FBI Director. Chaffetz believes that Trump colluded with Russia to win the election and fired Comey to compromise the FBI investigation looking into the matter. He’s convinced that Comey was removed from office to hide to fact that the president worked with Russia during the campaign and recently a letter to the Justice Department’s Inspector General urging him to waste taxpayer dollars looking into the case.
Unsurprisingly, many Democrats share Chaffetz’s belief that Comey’s firing was suspicious. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Trump’s decision to fire Comey a “big mistake.” Specifically, he said, “earlier this afternoon President Trump called me and informed me he was firing Director Comey,” adding, “I told the president, ‘Mr. President, with all due respect, you are making a big mistake.’”
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) was also by the President’s decision. During a recent interview on MSNBC, she was asked if she was happy with Trump’s decision to get rid of Comey since, in the past, she’s argued that he’s not “credible.” She responded, “no, I do not, necessarily, support the president’s decision,” adding, “under investigation, this president basically has interfered with an investigation where he may be implicated.”
Thankfully, reasonable Republicans have come out in support of Trump’s decision. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), openly praised Trump’s decision. “The Director of the FBI needs to be above reproach, with an unquestioned reputation for fairness and impartiality,” he claimed, adding, “unfortunately, Mr. Comey had lost the confidence of both Republicans and Democrats, and, frankly, the American people.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley also his concern for Comey, citing his handling of the Clinton email investigation. Specifically, he argued, “the handling of the Clinton email investigation is a clear example of how Comey’s decisions have called into question the trust and political independence of the FBI.” By losing trust and perceived political independence, it was imperative that he be removed from office.
While there’s nothing wrong with politicians stepping down from office to pursue other interests, using a platform like Fox to spread conspiracy theories about Trump could be problematic. If they agree to have him as a host, they must ensure that he doesn’t recklessly spread misinformation.