Donald Trump is set to give Rep. Devin Nunes the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday, rewarding one of his most vocal defenders during the Russia investigation with the nation’s highest civilian honor. The California congressman was fiercely loyal to Trump during the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and repeatedly accused the DOJ and the FBI of being biased against Trump. In 2018, Trump said that Nunes, then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, should be rewarded for his attempts to discredit the investigation, telling Fox & Friends that the congressman should “get a very important medal” for “what he’s gone through, and his bravery.” (Nunes was forced to recuse himself from his own committee’s Russia probe after he allegedly shared classified information pertaining to the investigation with the White House.)
Trump also reportedly plans to give the same award to Ohio representative Jim Jordan, another GOP lawmaker who played a key role during Trump’s impeachment. As Trump’s chief defender in the House’s inquiry, Jordan ultimately helped get Trump acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate. More recently, Jordan has helped advance Trump’s baseless claims about rampant fraud in the presidential race he lost to Joe Biden, demanding that House Democrats launch an immediate inquiry into the “integrity of the 2020 election amid troubling reports of irregularities and improprieties” less than a week after the Department of Homeland Security called the race “the most secure in American history.”
The Medal of Freedom honors “exceptional contributions” to national security, world peace, or cultural and other “significant” endeavors, per the Times, and past recipients include Rosa Parks, Jonas Salk, Nelson Mandela, and Neil Armstrong. Presidents have awarded members of Congress with the honor in the past, though typically at the end of their time in public service or to recognize an unrelated achievement, the Times reports.
I feel for all the great Americans who have received the Medal of Freedom over the decades.
What’s next, spray painting MAGA on the WH walls?https://t.co/bfXeFsgE5v
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) January 4, 2021
The president has already given the medal to Rush Limbaugh—the conservative radio host who helped build the polarized media landscape that largely defined the Trump era and arguably paved the way for his election—and the reported plans to award it to Nunes and Jordan are emblematic of how he has used his final days in office. Late last year, he granted full pardons to others entangled in the Russia investigation, including Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, and Alexander van der Zwaan.
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