Democrats on the House Oversight Committee ripped into Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzChaffetz resting after 'successful' foot surgery Lawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills DHS head: Not concerned Flynn may have been influenced by foreign nation MORE (R-Utah) on Monday for ignoring their requests to investigate White House national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia.
In a letter to Chaffetz, the committee’s Democrats called on him to reconsider his decision to pass on probing whether Flynn had inappropriate contact with Russia. The request comes in the midst of reports that Flynn discussed sanctions imposed by President Obama with Russia's U.S. ambassador during the transition and then allegedly misled Vice President Pence about the conversations.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the panel’s ranking Democrat, had also called on Chaffetz to investigate Flynn’s appearance at an event celebrating the Kremlin-aligned news outlet RT with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015, along with whether he potentially violated federal law and deceived members of the Trump administration after speaking with the Russian ambassador about lifting sanctions put in place to respond to Moscow's alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election.
They praised Chaffetz for his willingness to sign onto a bipartisan letter with Cummings last week asking the Office of Government Ethics to recommend a penalty for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after she promoted Ivanka Trump’s clothing line during a “Fox & Friends” interview from the White House.
“That was a small step in the right direction,” they wrote. “However, General Flynn’s potential violations of the U.S. Constitution and federal law are far more grave, and they certainly deserve to be investigated by this Committee more urgently than the President’s daughter’s clothing line.”
Chaffetz has come under fire from critics for largely declining to take up investigations of the Trump administration, in contrast to his aggressive pursuit of Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump on presidency: 'I thought it would be easier' Trump threatens to scrap 'horrible' South Korea trade deal New science-fiction book set in future where Clinton won MORE’s use of a private server while secretary of State.
The chairman faced an angry crowd at a constituent town hall meeting in his district last week. Protesters chanted “do your job!” as Chaffetz tried to explain Trump, as president, is exempt from conflict of interest laws.