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Chaffetz sets exit date, cites 'mid-life crisis'

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Photographs by AP/The Deseret News/Laura Seitz

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, gives an interview on the KSL Newsradio's "The Doug Wright Show" in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY -- U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced Thursday that he will resign from Congress next month, saying a "mid-life crisis" compelled him to step away from his chairmanship of the House Oversight Committee as it is poised to launch an investigation into President Donald Trump's firing of the FBI director.

The announcement by Chaffetz, 50, was the latest twist of the Republican-controlled congressional investigations into Trump.

Chaffetz's announcement came a day after he tweeted that he had invited ex-FBI Director James Comey to testify next week at a hearing of the oversight committee he leads.

Comey was fired last week as the FBI investigates whether Trump's presidential campaign associates had colluded with Russia to influence the election in his behalf.

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The Utah Republican, who had just started his fifth term in Congress, used his post as chairman of the Oversight Committee to doggedly investigate Hillary Clinton before the 2016 presidential election and raise his political profile.

But he mainly declined to go after Trump until this week.

On Tuesday, he vowed to get the memos Comey reportedly wrote about his meeting with Trump in which the president allegedly asked him to shut down the FBI investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Chaffetz's letter announcing his resignation did not mention the investigation, focusing solely on his decision about wanting to spend more time with family. It was not immediately clear how the House Oversight Committee would proceed.

He told reporters Thursday from his home in a southern Salt Lake City suburb that he still has not seen the Comey memo or spoken with the former FBI director.

He said he believed that other members of his committee would keep the investigation going.

"There are lots of good people who care about these issues and are well-suited to carry out these investigations," Chaffetz said.

Last month, Chaffetz stunned the political world by saying he would leave Congress before his current term ends in 2018. But he did not provide a date for his departure until Thursday.

Chaffetz said his last day will be June 30.

The former kicker for the Mormon-owned Brigham Young University football team was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008. He strolled to four easy re-elections in his Republican-friendly district and became chairman of the House Oversight Committee in 2015.

He has not ruled out running for another office, such as Utah governor.

Before his time in office, he worked in communications for more than a decade and served as campaign manager for former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

A Section on 05/19/2017

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