WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Thursday that Rep. Devin Nunes deserves a medal of honor for the courage he displayed by taking on the Department of Justice over the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

During a wide-ranging interview on Fox & Friends, Trump repeated his denial that there was any collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives and denounced special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as "disgraceful" and a "witch hunt." It was in that context that he said Nunes, the California Republican who serves as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, deserves the military's highest honor. 

"If this turns out as everyone thinks it will, Devin Nunes should get the Medal of Honor," he said. "What he's gone through, and his bravery, he should get a very important medal." 

Apparently realizing that the Medal of Honor is awarded for military valor, Trump then added, "Maybe we'll call it the Medal of Freedom because we actually give them, the high awards for civilians." 

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is America's highest civilian honor, awarded to individuals for their contributions to the U.S. and to the world. Several members of Congress have received the medal in the past, dating back to the Kennedy administration. Most recently, then-President Barack Obama awarded it to retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

Nunes has been a vocal critic of the Russia investigation from the outset and has implied that it is the job of House Republicans to protect President Donald Trump from Mueller in a recording captured at a campaign fundraising event

The congressman also has accused investigators within the FBI and Department of Justice of anti-Trump bias and consistently pushed for documents related to the investigation to be shared with House Intelligence Committee. 

Trump said the Republicans who are trying to expose bias against him within the Justice Department are becoming "folk heroes." Although their efforts were often "stymied," he said "now it's coming out and it's really sad." 

"We've got a hornet's nest," Trump said. "I think I've done a great service to this country because I have exposed so much."