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US House oversight panel head Chaffetz to leave Congress

Republican Jason Chaffetz declared he would quit Congress just days after urging a probe into Donald Trump and the firing of James Comey. Chaffetz, who heads the Oversight Committee, said he wanted more time with family.

The Utah Congressman announced his plans on Thursday, saying that he would stay on duty until the end of June.

Chaffetz is the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, one of the US government bodies looking into Trump's decision to fire James Comey as the head of FBI as well as into claims about links between Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Moscow.

The timing of his announcement raised eyebrows in Washington, as it follows explosive reports on Trump's alleged attempt to influence Comey published earlier this week.

Chaffetz did not mention the probes in his resignation letter, focusing instead on wishing to spend time with his family.

"I told voters I did not believe Congress should be a lifetime career," he said in the text addressed to his constituents. "As you know, after careful consideration and long discussion with my wife, Julie, we agree the time has come for us to move on from this part of our life."

Plans for resignation before Comey scandal

The 50-year-old lawmaker officially announced his resignation on Thursday, but he said last month he would not seek re-election in 2018. He had also hinted that he might leave office before the end of his term.

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Reports: Trump asked Comey to end Flynn probe

 It was not immediately clear who will succeed him at the helm of the congressional oversight panel.

The Oversight Committee inquiries are separate from a new probe to be led by special counsel Robert Mueller, another ex-FBI director.

Comey to testify before Congress

Chaffetz has made headlines this week with regard to the controversy surrounding former FBI chief Comey's dismissal.

The Republican representative said that he might use a subpoena to obtain a memo written by Comey and allegedly detailing Trump's efforts to stop the FBI's probe into Flynn. Chaffetz tweeted that the House oversight panel will see Comey's memo "if it exists."

On Wednesday, Chaffetz also invited Comey to testify before Congress.

Chaffetz made no official plans for his future, but he has not ruled out running for governor of Utah in 2020.

dj/gsw (AP, Reuters, dpa)

 

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