Home News Watch: Chaffetz Breaks Ranks and Scolds Justice Department

Watch: Chaffetz Breaks Ranks and Scolds Justice Department

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Watch: Chaffetz Breaks Ranks and Scolds Justice Department
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, speaks during the Utah Republican Party nominating convention Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Sandy, Utah. About 4,000 Republican delegates are gathering in Sandy for their state nominating convention Saturday to pick the party's candidates for four congressional seats and nine legislative races. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rep. Chaffetz has made few announcements today including that he will be resigning his position. Rumors are he will be running for Senate when Orin Hatch retires. But today during an appearance on Fox News the House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) stuck his neck out and broke with the massive bipartisan consensus on Wednesday. “I have not seen any evidence of actual collusion. Where is the actual crime that they think they need a special prosecutor to prosecute?” he asked Tucker Carlson of Fox News.

Before former FBI Director, Robert Mueller was appointed by the Justice Department to lead a special counsel; most Republicans held off from declaring any need for the special appointment. But when the announcement was made, a growing number of Republican leaders joined ranks with all of the Democratic leadership and endorsed the decision as the way forward in the Russian investigation. There certainly must have been unrest even among Republicans when the president fired James Comey, the former director of the FBI. The president’s actions raised concerns about the independence of the investigation and whether it could be free from interference from the White House.

But Chaffetz said that the move by the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel left him “blindsided.” “I don’t think they should have actually appointed somebody,” Chaffetz said on Fox News, even though he praised Mueller’s credentials. “[I am] very surprised by it. No heads up, I don’t think the speaker’s office got a heads up … it caught us totally out of the blue,” he said. Chaffetz went on in the interview with Carlson to raise serious concerns that Democrats will “politically exploit” the investigation.

The White House was also reportedly caught unaware by the Justice Department decision. They received the announcement shortly before it was made public. According to a report by CNN, the president was meeting with candidates for the position of FBI director when he was informed of the decision to appoint Robert Mueller to spearhead the investigation into Russian meddling. One administration official told CNN, “It’s still sinking in. We were told about it. Not asked about it.”

Do you think Chaffetz is right? Should there be evidence that a crime has been committed before a special counsel is appointed to investigate?

Credit: The Hill

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