LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Congressman Devin Nunes announced he will leave Congress and begin working for former President Donald Trump's social media company at the beginning of 2022.
"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. 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."
Nunes, who has been a staunch supporter of Trump, said he will retire from Congress in January 2022 and become the new CEO of the former president's social media company.
Some experts believe that Nunes may have decided to leave Congress as redistricting may leave his seat less secure.
"It appeared that re-districting would put him in a disadvantageous position and he was afraid of losing his seat," said Claremont McKenna College professor Jack Pitney. "Apparently there was an opportunity to go to work for the Trump organization and he saw a big payday."
Nunes was first elected to Congress back in 2002 and was the chair of the powerful House Intelligence Committee in 2015 when Republicans controlled the House of Representatives. Because of his close ties to Trump he was forced to recuse himself during the House investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
"He started off as a moderate — reputation of being in the tradition of Ways Means Chair Bill Thomas," said Pitney. "When Trump came along, he hitched his wagon to Trump and his legacy will always be associated with Trump."
Despite his departure, Nunes' continues to have a strong following amongst California Republicans.
"He always served his local district," said Mario Guerra from the California GOP Executive Committee. "He always took care of the Central Valley. That was his number one concern. Always said that and did that, and worked across the aisle to get what was in the best interest of California."
Nunes' new role in President Trump's social media company as the Congressman fought several legal battles of his own against social media companies and parody accounts that belittled him. None of those cases were successful.
"This decision makes sense for him because he's been a Trump loyalist for a long time and he's been somebody who has talked about social media for a long time," said Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson. "Of course, the irony here is that he sued social media companies a number of times and the irony is that he will now be representing one."
Political experts say Democrats' chances of retaining their House majority appears bleak at this moment, but Nunes' exit may provide a glimmer of hope for Democrats.
"It increases the chances Democrats will pick up a seat and that's important because they're in great danger of losing their majority and this gives them a little bit of hope," said Pitney.
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