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Tuesday August 22nd, 2017 1:25AM

Utah's Chaffetz expected to leave office by end of June

By The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A top Utah state lawmaker has said U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz may leave office by the end of June, a move that would call into question the future of the House Oversight Committee's investigation of President Donald Trump and his campaign's ties with Russia.

Chaffetz, a Republican, has demanded that the FBI hand over memos and notes that ex-FBI Director James Comey reportedly compiled after meetings and phone calls with Trump. Earlier this week, Chaffetz tweeted that he had invited Comey to testify at a hearing set for next week. Chaffetz chairs the committee looking into the Trump's campaign's role in Russia's efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes said Wednesday in a caucus meeting in Salt Lake City that Chaffetz is expected to announce his resignation soon and that it would take effect by June 30. State lawmakers were discussing plans for a special election that would be needed if Chaffetz resigns.

Chaffetz's spokeswoman MJ Henshaw said in a text message that Chaffetz is in Utah and plans to speak to reporters there later Thursday afternoon.

Hughes' chief of staff, Greg Hartley, said in a text Thursday that Hughes "has heard that he (Chaffetz) could be out of office as soon as the end of June. He doesn't know for certain."

Chaffetz said last month that he would not seek re-election in 2018 and that he was considering leaving office early. Chaffetz said he wants to spend time with his family, return to the private sector and potentially run for Utah governor.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, said he spoke with Chaffetz on Wednesday but said he doesn't know what the Chaffetz' plans are for leaving Congress.

"I don't want to presuppose what he's going to say and what he's going to do," Herbert said. "But I think all of us seem to think that his announcement is somewhat imminent."

Chaffetz has vowed to get the memos Comey 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.

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

"If this memo exists, I need to see it right away," Chaffetz told The Associated Press in a phone interview earlier this week, adding, "If we need a subpoena, we'll do it."

___

Associated Press writer Michelle L. Price contributed to this report.

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