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Trump gives Nunes Medal of Freedom

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE gave Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesRepublican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC What good are the intelligence committees? CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be MORE (R-Calif.) the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor in the U.S. for a civilian, on Monday.

The California Republican, a staunch ally and defender of Trump throughout his presidency, received the award at a ceremony closed to the press, according to the White House.

Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHillary Clinton brings up 'Freedom Fries' to mock 'cancel culture' Republicans call for hearing on Biden's handling of border surge Jim Jordan calls for House Judiciary hearing on 'cancel culture' MORE (R-Ohio), another supporter of the president in the House, is expected to receive the Medal of Freedom next week. 

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The Washington Post was the first to report that Nunes and Jordan were expected to receive the medals in the closing days of Trump’s presidency.

The award is intended to acknowledge “exceptional contributions” to national security, world peace or cultural and other “significant” endeavors. Previous presidents have given the Medal of Freedom to members of Congress but usually at the end of their public service career or for something unrelated to their congressional service, The New York Times noted

Both Nunes and Jordan defended Trump during the Justice Department’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and during the House’s impeachment inquiry in 2019 — probes that Trump labeled as “witch hunts.”

The two Republicans rallied behind the president, spreading unfavorable information about the Justice Department investigators and loudly condemning the Democrats during impeachment inquiry hearings for investigating Trump for attempting to pressure Ukraine to look into now President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot FireEye finds evidence Chinese hackers exploited Microsoft email app flaw since January Biden officials to travel to border amid influx of young migrants MORE.

"Devin Nunes’ courageous actions helped thwart a plot to take down a sitting United States president," the White House said in announcing the award. "Congressman Devin Nunes is a public servant of unmatched talent, unassailable integrity, and unwavering resolve. He uncovered the greatest scandal in American history."

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Trump floated the idea of giving Nunes the Medal of Freedom during an October 2018 interview on “Fox & Friends” when he served as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. At first, Trump proposed giving the representative the Medal of Honor, which is only given for acts of military valor, before correcting himself and saying Nunes deserved the Medal of Freedom.

“What he’s gone through, and his bravery, he should get a very important medal,” Trump said at the time.

--Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report, which was updated on Jan. 4 at 1:23 p.m.