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Prosecutors focus on Trump declassification claims in Kash Patel testimony: report

Kash Patel, former Trump aide, at a rally in Minden, Nev., Friday, Oct. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas, Pool)

Federal prosecutors questioned former Trump aide Kash Patel on Thursday about his previous claims that former President Trump had declassified documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago, The Washington Post reported.

Patel appeared for the second time in a month before a federal grand jury investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents after the Department of Justice agreed on Wednesday to grant him immunity for any information he provided.

The former Trump aide was also asked about how and why the former president took classified records with him to Mar-a-Lago, according to the Post.

Patel previously said in media interviews that he had witnessed Trump issue declassification orders near the end of his presidency, particularly on the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

His comments mirror the former president’s own claims that the more than 300 classified documents recovered from his Florida home in the last year had already been declassified. However, Trump’s lawyers have stopped short of making such assertions in court filings and resisted a request to elaborate on claims that the former president could have declassified the documents.

Patel initially appeared before the grand jury last month but refused to answer any questions, instead opting to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. After a federal judge ruled that the Justice Department could not force Patel to testify without a grant of immunity, the agency agreed to such a grant, allowing for Patel’s testimony on Thursday.

Tags classified documents declassification claims Donald Trump FBI search of Mar-a-Lago Kash Patel Kash Patel
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