— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) May 24, 2017
Jason Chaffetz gained national notoriety during the Benghazi investigation, but his duties as House oversight chair have grown, well, more cumbersome since President Trump took office. His own hot takes on health care haven’t helped matters, but Trump bombshells won’t stop dropping, and the Russia investigation has grown so overwhelming that the guy could probably use a day off. However, his choice to leave Congress early has prompted head scratching since he’s not personally implicated in any scandals. Chaffetz cited a desire to return to his family although, to many, it appears that there’s got to be a deeper reason for a swift departure. Speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Chaffetz hinted that perhaps D.C. has grown too nutty for him:
“At some point, you’ve got to get off this crazy train, but there’s always somebody doing something stupid somewhere, there’s always plenty of things to investigate and look at.”
Yet that’s part of the job, which Chaffetz has been doing for years (chairing the House Oversight Committee since 2014 and serving in Congress since 2008). “Crazy train” could be a throwaway term, or perhaps he’s tired of the pressure that comes with being a GOP member who investigates a GOP president — one who’s brought utter chaos to D.C. Chaffetz told Blitzer that he’s spent 1500 Congressional nights away from home, misses his wife and kids, and he can’t stomach the thought of spending a few hundred more nights away to finish his term, and there’s more:
“I always promised that I would get in, serve, and get out. This is not supposed to be a lifetime appointment. I don’t want to get that Potomac fever and just get too caught up in myself or anything else.”
At this point, Chaffetz makes the news every day with the latest headlines pointing at his frustration at not yet seeing the Comey memos (although he’s demanded they be produced) that reportedly describe possibly obstructive behavior from the president. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are accusing the White House of telling federal agencies to withhold information on a variety of issues, including Russia.
In other words, there’s not much of a bipartisan spirit to be had in D.C. right now. That’s normal to a degree, but everything is exaggerated in Trumpland. And Chaffetz, for whatever reason, wants out.