Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Monday, April 03, 2017

Chaffetz makes a small pivot

by digby

For Salon this morning I wrote about the camera hogging chairman of the House Oversight Committee committing a small act of oversight last week:

One of the sourest moments of Donald Trump’s damp inauguration ceremony had to be this comment after the fact, proudly shared on Instagram by House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz.

A post shared by Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) on

This churlish comment wasn’t the only time Chaffetz had promised to continue his relentless crusade against Hillary Clinton. He had said previously that “just because there was a political election doesn’t mean it goes away,” claiming that the emails on Clinton’s server represented “the largest breach of security in the history of the State Department.” Actually, the State Department’s own servers have been hacked by foreign agents multiple times. But who’s counting? (And Chaffetz himself has a history of revealing classified information in public.)

He told Fox News in December:
We can’t simply let this go. If the president or the president-elect wants to pardon Secretary Hillary Clinton for the good of the nation, that is their option. But I have a duty and an obligation to actually fix the problems that were made with Hillary Clinton.
One can understand how hard it must be for Chaffetz to let go of his dream. After all, the Utah congressman had planned his entire political future around riding Clinton scandals all the way to the Senate and possibly beyond. Having to become one of a dozen mealy-mouthed Trump toadies instead just doesn’t present the same opportunities for a man with Chaffetz’s towering ego and ambition. If there’s any political fame or fortune to be gained by taking the apologist position, House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes has it all locked up.

At a forum last Thursday hosted by the right-wing “watchdog” group Judicial Watch, Chaffetz insisted that he’s still looking into the “Fast and Furious” scandal. That was the odd controversy in which the Republican Party — which believes in unfettered gun rights even, for the mentally ill — turned into gun control advocates when it came to a federal government operation to sell firearms to middlemen in order to trace them to cartel leaders. Apparently some of the guns got into the hands of criminals who killed some innocent people, including a border patrol agent. (Imagine if they showed the same concern for the tens of thousands of other people who are killed by gun violence every year.)

Chaffetz also reminisced about his frustrations with the Obama administration over Benghazi. In what seems to be an attempt to one up the intrepid midnight adventures of Rep. Nunes, his rival Trump handmaiden, Chaffetz once more recounted the stale story of a National Guard soldier who came to him with information about Libya that was so secret they had to meet in a a Secured Compartmented Intelligence Facility, or SCIF, in Utah. Chaffetz knew he had to see this supposedly explosive evidence for himself, so he hopped on a plane to Libya to check it out. He told the audience, “It was not the safest decision I ever made.” What a hero.

Up until now, Chaffetz has resisted any attempts to investigate Trump. When the Atlantic’s McKay Coppins read off a long list of Trump conflicts of interest and asked if Chaffetz had any intention of having the House Oversight Committee look into them, he replied:
He’s already rich. He’s very rich. I don’t think that he ran for this office to line his pockets even more. I just don’t see it like that.
Apparently, Chaffetz believes that wealthy Republicans cannot be corrupt because they have so much money. That’s lucky for Donald Trump — the billionaire who just settled a $25 million lawsuit for fraud, went bankrupt four times and spent the last decade hawking ugly ties and cheap cologne as if he were desperate for cash. Not to mention the fact that for some unknown reason he refuses to release his tax returns.

Chaffetz’s talk at the Judicial Watch forum, however, suggests that he’s starting to reckon with the fact that the Trump administration is floundering, and believes it may be time to take advantage. If he’s joining up with Judicial Watch, it’s a sign that some of the GOP’s most tenacious opportunists have decided that their fortunes lie with the Trump opposition.

The day before the forum, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton had attended a meeting of conservative groups and White House officials hoping to find a way forward after the health care bill debacle. According to the New York Times, Fitton demanded that the Trump administration release all its documents pertaining to the Russian interference in the election and commit to a policy of “extreme transparency.” This is a departure for Fitton, who, like Chaffetz, has until now been docile and accepting when it comes to the mountain of corruption, conflicts and possible foreign collusion of the Trump administration.

The next day, Chaffetz echoed Fitton’s comments. He said that he’s been letting the new administration settle in, but that it’s clear now becomie clear that Trump officials are not being cooperative with committee requests for documents. He didn’t specifically mention Russia and tried to blame the problems on Obama holdovers, but the fact that he appeared at a Judicial Watch event and criticized the administration didn’t go unnoticed by Breitbart News, which means it didn’t go unnoticed by the White House.

You may recall that during the campaign Chaffetz ostentatiously withdrew his endorsement of Trump after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape only to come crawling back a couple weeks later. So it’s probably safe to say that he’ll go whichever way the wind blows. Right now there’s a gale force hurricane bearing down on the White House and he’s got to figure out whether the smart move for his future is to hunker down with Trump or head for high ground. You can be sure that whatever he decides, the calculation will be purely based on whatever he thinks is best for Jason Chaffetz.