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Chaffetz says Trump, Obama administrations no different in stonewalling his investigations

Rep. Jason Chaffetz meets with the editorial board at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz meets with the editorial board at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Jason Chaffetz expressed frustration Sunday that the White House hasn't been as receptive as he expected to furthering the investigations he launched as head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"The reality is, sadly, I don't see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration. I thought … these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon," the Utah Republican said.

Chaffetz, who is stepping down from Congress on June 30 and appears headed to Fox News, made the comments in an interview on the Sinclair Broadcasting Group's "Full Measure."

"In many ways, it's almost worse because we're getting nothing, and that's terribly frustrating, and with all due respect, the attorney general has not changed at all," he said, adding that he finds Attorney General Jeff Sessions less inclined to make documents available than his predecessor, Loretta Lynch.

Chaffetz listed investigations into Hillary Clinton's emails, the IRS, and Fast and Furious among those for which he has been trying to pry documents from federal agencies.

Some 50 Republicans, he said, are pleading with President Donald Trump to fire IRS Commissioner John Koskinen or at least encourage him to retire. Chaffetz accused Koskinen of hindering congressional investigations of his agency.

"Nobody was fired. Nobody was prosecuted. Nobody was held accountable. We tried to issue subpoenas, we tried to hold people in contempt, and the Obama administration said no, and the Trump administration came in and did zero. Nothing. Nothing changed," Chaffetz said on "Full Measure," which airs on Sinclair-owned KUTV.

Chaffetz reiterated that he is resigning to spend more time with his wife and children, but also acknowledged frustration over Congress not getting things done, even though the Republicans seized control from the Democrats.

"And that whole pendulum swung, but I'm telling you, in the first five, six months, I haven't seen any changes," he said. "And that's … very frustrating. You come to that point and say, 'All right. … It's time for a change.'"