House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) sits in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill March 19, 2015 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty

House Republican still has his eyes on Hillary Clinton, emails

On Nov. 9, literally the day after the election, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said his pre-election plans had not changed: he would continue to pursue Hillary Clinton and her email server management. A month later, he said it again.

“We can’t just simply let this go,” Chaffetz told Fox News in December.

Evidently, he means it. BuzzFeed reported yesterday:
The election may be over, but the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use at the State Department, Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz told reporters Monday.

“This was never a political targeting from the beginning. Just because there’s a political election doesn’t mean it goes away. So of course I’m going to continue to pursue that,” Chaffetz said.
This continues to be a bad idea. Clinton, a private citizen who hasn’t held public office in nearly five years, didn’t actually commit any crimes and the State Department has already changed its practices. Clumsy I.T. practices from several years ago may have inexplicably become one of the nation’s most important issues in the presidential campaign, and the political world’s preoccupation with this may have helped put an unqualified television personality in the Oval Office, but it’s difficult to make a substantive case to keep the issue alive in 2017.

Besides, shouldn’t the House Oversight Committee be preparing to conduct oversight of the administration that’s actually in office?

BuzzFeed’s report added that Chaffetz said he’ll support accountability for the Trump administration. “My job in this role is not to protect or be a cheerleader for the president. It’s just not,” the congressman told reporters. “I’m not here to defend him at every turn.”

If that’s true, it’s encouraging, but there’s reason for skepticism. Congressional Democrats have already pleaded with the Oversight Committee chairman to look into Trump’s various conflict-of-interest controversies, and to date, Chaffetz has ignored them.

Indeed, the Utah Republican yesterday adopted the transition team’s talking points that Trump, as president, can’t really have conflict-of-interest problems because he’ll be the president.

“My concern is to make sure there’s compliance with the law. I will tell you that the president is exempt from a lot of them,” Chaffetz said.

This, of course, will free up time for the GOP to go after Hillary Clinton. Old habits die hard.

Hillary Clinton and Jason Chaffetz

House Republican still has his eyes on Hillary Clinton, emails