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Devin Nunes, chief executive officer of Truth Social, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, US, on Thursday, March 2, 2023. 

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Trump Media CEO Devin Nunes on Friday said he would “do whatever it takes” to defend the company’s retail investors from possible illegal short selling of its shares.

“If we have to go to the Congress or if we have to take legal action, we will do whatever it takes to defend our retail investors,” Nunes said in an interview with right-wing media outlet Newsmax.

Nunes also called out President Joe Biden for mentioning Trump Media’s stock price in a speech earlier this week.

“Isn’t that weird?” Nunes said.

Delivering remarks in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday, Biden took a dig at Donald Trump, his November Republican election opponent, as shares of Trump Media tanked from its more than $70 debut price.

“If Trump’s stock in the Truth Social — his — his company — drops any lower, he might do better under my tax plan than his,” Biden said.

Trump Media’s stock, trading under the ticker DJT, rallied toward the end of this week, but has plummeted starkly from its peak. That leaves Trump, the company’s largest shareholder, with less value on paper for his 60% stake.

Nunes’ Newsmax comments doubled down on his earlier theory that DJT’s stock decline is at least partially attributable to alleged illegal market manipulation.

Earlier on Friday, Nunes warned the Nasdaq CEO that the fall of Trump Media’s stock price could result from “naked” short selling, a trading practice where the seller bets a stock will decline in price. It involves a trader selling shares that have not been borrowed or arranged to be borrowed.

“Reports indicate that, as of April 3, 2024, DJT was ‘by far’ ‘the most expensive U.S. stock to short,’ meaning that brokers have a significant financial incentive to lend non-existent shares,” Nunes wrote in a letter filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing CNBC.

Nunes said that Trump Media has appeared on the Nasdaq’s “Reg SHO threshold list,” which could indicate illegal trading behavior.

However, the SEC notes on its website that naked short selling is not “not necessarily a violation of the federal securities laws” unless it is being intentionally deployed to manipulate the market. It also says that a stock appearing on the Reg SHO threshold list is not necessarily a sign of illegal trading activity.

Later that day, Citadel Securities, one of the market firms named in the letter, mocked Nunes, calling him a “proverbial loser who tries to blame ‘naked short selling’ for his falling stock price.”

In the Newsmax interview, Nunes appeared to fire back at that statement: “If you think there’s nothing wrong, you say there’s nothing wrong. You don’t go out and basically attack me personally.”

Citadel Securities’ founder Ken Griffin is a major donor to GOP candidates, including Nunes, who served as a Republican House representative for California before taking the helm of Trump Media.

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