California Rep. Devin Nunes Will Leave Congress To Join Trump Tech Startup

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Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, is retiring at the end of the year to helm former President Donald Trump’s new tech startup.

Nunes, a 10-term congressman from California, will be the CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group, which has plans to launch a new social media platform and video streaming service.

“The time has come to reopen the internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship,” Nunes said in a statement announcing his new role.

Nunes has been a staunch ally of the former president, fiercely defending Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2019. He later recused himself from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election over allegations that he had shared classified information with the White House, but he was later cleared by an ethics panel.

Trump heaped praise on Nunes, a 48-year-old former dairy farmer, who led the House intelligence panel from 2015 to 2019.

“Congressman Devin Nunes is a fighter and a leader. He will make an excellent CEO of TMTG,” Trump said in a statement full of his usual invective against the media. “Devin understands that we must stop the liberal media and Big Tech from destroying the freedoms that make America great.”

“America is ready for TRUTH Social and the end to censorship and political discrimination,” Trump continued, citing the name of his proposed platform.

The announcement came on the heels of news about federal regulators looking into the planned merger between Trump’s tech venture and the shell company formed to take it public on the stock exchange.

Nunes is leaving behind a powerful role in Congress. He was poised to become chair of the House Ways and Means Committee with the GOP favored to retake the House majority in 2022.

The California Republican became known for trying to silence critics with lawsuits. He sued Twitter for defamation over parody accounts, Devin Nunes’ Cow and Devin Nunes’ Mom, arguing that they harmed his political reputation. He also sued Hearst Media and journalist Ryan Lizza for a 2018 article about his family’s dairy operation. The suits were unsuccessful.

Elected in 2002 to represent California’s agricultural Central Valley, Nunes was potentially heading for a challenging reelection fight next year following congressional redistricting. The independent commission redrawing California’s maps released a draft proposal that would make Nunes’ district more Democratic-leaning.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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