The Latest: Chaffetz, Cummings praise Mueller choice
Posted May 17
WASHINGTON — The Latest on developments on Capitol Hill about the House oversight investigation into former FBI Director Comey's memos (all times local):
The top Republican and Democrat on the House oversight committee are applauding the choice of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to lead the Justice Department's investigation into allegations of collusion between associates of President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, says in a tweet that Mueller was a great selection with "impeccable credentials." Ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, says Mueller is a "solid choice." He urged Mueller to follow the facts with "integrity and independence."
The Justice Department announced Mueller's selection late Wednesday a day after the disclosure that former FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that Trump pressured him to shut down an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee is questioning why his GOP counterpart isn't pressing the Trump administration with the same zeal he showed during congressional investigations of Hillary Clinton.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, says that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, had former FBI Director James Comey before the committee within 48 hours of Comey announcing that Clinton wouldn't face criminal charges for her use of a private email server while secretary of state. And Cummings is wondering why Chaffetz "is not doing the same here?"
Chaffetz rose to national prominence as a public face of GOP efforts to probe Clinton's activities in advance of the 2016 election.
The oversight committee chosen by House Speaker Paul Ryan to investigate whether President Donald Trump obstructed an FBI probe has been the most publicly aggressive group involved in the cautious, GOP-led investigations.
But the fate of its investigation hinges on Ryan's lukewarm support and the sometimes fractious working relationship between its Republican and Democratic leaders.
Ryan said Wednesday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will take the lead scrutinizing reports that Trump pressed FBI Director James Comey to shut down the bureau's investigation into Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Hours after Ryan's announcement, the committee's chairman, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, tweeted that he has already scheduled a public hearing for next week into the matter and will ask Comey to testify.
The Republican chairman of a House oversight committee says he will ask former FBI Director James Comey to testify at a hearing next week that will look into whether President Donald Trump pressured Comey to shut down an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz said in a tweet Wednesday that he still hasn't spoken with Comey about testifying. But he has set a hearing for May 24.
The moves comes a day after it was disclosed that Comey had written a memo detailing how Trump had asked him to shut down the investigation into Flynn. The FBI has been looking into Flynn for months as part of a counterintelligence investigation.
Chaffetz has demanded that the FBI turn over Comey's memos. He says he wants to determine whether the president attempted to influence or impede the FBI's investigation into Flynn.
The top Democrat on a key House oversight panel says Speaker Paul Ryan "has shown he has zero appetite for any investigation of President Trump."
The comments by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings came as Democrats sought to force a House vote to establish an independent commission to investigate Donald Trump's ties to Russia.
Cummings said the Government Reform and Oversight panel needs to subpoena documents for its Russia probe and summon former FBI Director James Comey for a public hearing.
Cummings reminded reporters that panel chairman Jason Chaffetz held a hearing featuring Comey just 48 hours after Comey announced there was no evidence warranting charges against Hillary Clinton after an investigation found she had improperly handled classified information on a private email server.