WASHINGTON – Americans are blasting outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, for brutally trashing President Trump and his administration just two weeks before the lawmaker leaves Congress.
Chaffetz, who relinquished the House Oversight Committee gavel earlier this month, said he believes the Trump administration isn’t any better about government transparency than the Obama administration had been.
In fact, he said, President Trump’s administration may even be worse when it comes to obstruction of congressional oversight requests.
“The reality is, sadly, I don’t see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration,” Chaffetz told Sharyl Attkisson of Sinclair broadcasting in an interview that aired Sunday. “I thought there would be this, these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon. In many ways, it’s almost worse because we’re getting nothing, and that’s terribly frustrating.”
The outgoing chairman of the House Oversight Committee also took shots at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming Sessions is worse than his Democrat predecessor.
“With all due respect, the attorney general has not changed at all,” he said. “I find him to be worse than what I saw with [former Attorney General] 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 blamed Republicans in Congress for stalling investigations into Hillary Clinton, Fast and Furious and the IRS.
“There was the investigation into the IRS,” he said. “And one that was more than 7-years-old is Fast & Furious. We have been in court trying to pry those documents out of the Department of Justice, and still to this day they will not give us those documents. And at the State Department, nothing. I think if we went to the senior most people, even the president himself, they would be pulling their hair out.”
GOP lawmakers have called for IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s removal after the investigations into the 2013 revelations that the IRS scrutinized conservative nonprofits’ applications for tax-exempt status. Chaffetz criticized the Trump administration for not firing Koskinen.
“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. Nothing. Nothing changed,” he said. “He’s still there. Nobody was fired, nobody was prosecuted, nobody was held accountable.”
Chaffetz, who is scheduled to leave office on June 30 and was succeeded by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., as House Oversight Committee chairman last week, was repudiated on social media for attacking President Trump.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also made headlines last week after telling the left-leaning U.K. Guardian he believes “American leadership” was better under President Obama than President Trump.
According to the Guardian, McCain was “visibly irked” when asked about comments Trump made last week in the wake of the terrorist attack in London, in which he criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his response to the atrocity.
McCain – who lost his 2008 presidential bid against then-candidate Obama after a campaign in which he repeatedly defended Obama from criticism – has been an outspoken critic of Trump and has refused to tone down his rhetoric since the president took office.
In January, McCain admitted that he gave the FBI an unverified and error-riddled dossier detailing claims of a Russian blackmail plot against then-President-elect Donald Trump. Trump has denounced it as “a complete and total fabrication.”
Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly warned that President Trump’s biggest opponents are among the GOP ranks.
“I don’t understand how people don’t get that it’s not just the Democrats in Washington that are road blocking Trump. I mentioned it earlier,” Limbaugh said during a May 30 broadcast.
“The Republican Party, which is ostensibly the party of the president – and they owe their majority to him, particularly the Senate – are road blocking Donald Trump more than the Democrats are, because the Democrats cannot. The Democrats don’t have the votes in the House to stop Trump. The Democrats don’t have the votes in the Senate to stop Trump, although there is the 60-vote cloture requirement. It’s not the Democrats standing up and saying, ‘We are not gonna help. We’re gonna stand in the way of any foolish tax cut you propose.’
“It’s the Republicans standing up and saying, ‘I just don’t see how we’re – there’s no room here. I don’t know how we’re gonna lower rates when you have this exemption over here and you have this exemption there.’ And I just read this stuff and I shake my head. They don’t want to cut taxes. Either they don’t want to cut taxes institutionally, they don’t want to cut taxes economically, or they just don’t want to do the heavy lifting. I don’t know what it is. My guess is they don’t want to help Trump.”
While Senate Republicans scramble to pass a health-care reform bill and the White House contemplates options to raise the debt ceiling, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway slammed Congress on Monday for focusing on midterm elections and not on “solutions.”
“They shouldn’t be thinking about next year’s midterm elections,” Conway said during an interview on “Fox and Friends. “Here’s why: If you do your job well, you get re-elected. If people feel like you’ve had a positive impact on their lives, and you put together the solutions, you put them forth and you pass them the way the president is doing, then your will get re-elected.”
She continued: “When he says drain the swamp, it’s not just get rid of all of the crocodiles in the water that we don’t need there; it’s also moving at a different pace.”