Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a close ally of former President Donald Trump and the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that he would be resigning from Congress next month to join Trump's new social media venture as its Chief executive.
In a letter to constituents Monday evening, Nunes wrote that he wanted to pursue a "new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in."
"The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship," Nunes wrote in the letter to constituents. "The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality, and it will be an American company that restores the dream. I'm humbled, and honored President Trump has asked me to lead the mission and the world-class team that will deliver on this promise."
"Recently, I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in. I'm writing to let you know I've decided to pursue this opportunity, and therefore I will be leaving the House of Representatives at the end of 2021," Nunes' letter added.
Redistricting could have played a significant role in Nunes's decision to leave Congress. Before news broke of Nunes resigning next month, a source told The Floridian that Nunes would not seek reelection due to redistricting map in his state being conducted. With California losing one congressional seat due to the decline of population, an independent commission charged with redrawing the state's legislative map has so far proposed the lines for the 22nd Congressional District becoming blue, consequently complicating Nunes' path to reelection.
The 10-term California Republican, first elected in 2002, would become Democrats' worst nightmare when serving as the House Intelligence Committee chairman and his panel's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. During Democrats' witchhunt to take down Trump with impeachment, Nunes would become one of Trump's chief defenders on Capitol Hill. California Democrats have failed multiple times to unseat the Republicans due to Nunes' loyalty to Trump and his committee investigation into the Russian hoax collusion 2016 story.
According to the Cook Political Report, the proposed district lines show that Nunes will go from representing a district that Trump carried by five percentage points to a district President Biden carried by nine percentage points last year.
Shortly after Nunes broke the news, Trump Media & Technology Group announced that Nunes would become the company's CEO in January 2022, calling the California Republican "a fighter and a leader."
"Congressman Devin Nunes is a fighter and a leader. He will make an excellent CEO of TMTG. 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 said in a news release on Monday.
In the same emailed news release from TMTG, Nunes wrote in a statement, "The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship. The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality, and it will be an American company that restores the dream."
While Trump is gearing up for the official "Truth Social" launch within the first quarter of 2022, the start-up company has already run into legal headwinds. Earlier on Monday, Digital World Acquisition Corporation (DWAC), the blank-check acquisition company merging with Trump Media & Technology Group Corp (TMTG), disclosed in a public filing that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FinRA) reached out in recent weeks for "preliminary, fact-finding inquiries" for an investigation.
Digital World said the SEC asked for documents in early November related to communications it had with Trump and TMTG, meetings of its board, policies, and procedures relating to trading, the identification of banking, telephone, and email addresses along with the identities of specific investors.
Last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wrote a letter to Wall Street's top financial regulators asking them to investigate the Trump SPAC merger. In the letter to the SEC, Warren said Digital World may have violated securities rules by failing to disclose discussions it was reportedly having about merging with Trump Media & Technology Group. Warren based her revelation on a New York Times Oct. 29 article where it claimed Digital World CEO were discussing a potential deal with Trump before the company began trading on the Nasdaq in October.
The news of Nunes leaving Congress shocked many of his Republican colleagues who predicted he would win his seat at a time the party is projected to overwhelmingly win a large number of seats during the 2022 midterm. Such an expectation would put Nunes as chair of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress. With Nunes and Ways and Means ranking member Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) leaving Congress, there is now a wide-open race for the powerful committee gavel with names of senior House Republicans floating around as potential chair, including Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida and Jason Smith of Missouri.