Former Trump aide Kash Patel set to testify in Mar-a-Lago docs probe: report
Former Trump aide Kash Patel is set to testify before a federal grand jury about the classified documents recovered from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home after being granted immunity for any information, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Patel — who has claimed that Trump had declassified the documents found at Mar-a-Lago — previously refused to provide information to the grand jury, instead invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly has agreed to grant Patel immunity in order to force his testimony, after a federal judge ruled that the former Trump aide could not be compelled to testify without such a grant, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The FBI recovered about 100 classified documents when it searched Mar-a-Lago in August. Coupled with the documents recovered by the National Archives and Records Administration in January and several more returned by Trump’s lawyers in June, the government has retrieved more than 300 classified documents from the Florida residence.
Patel told The Wall Street Journal in August that he witnessed Trump issue verbal declassification orders, particularly related to the FBI’s investigation of links between the Trump campaign and Russia, near the end of his administration. The former Trump aide also said lack of evidence was not an issue, given that the president is the “ultimate classification authority.”
Patel’s claims echo Trump’s own assertions that he had declassified the materials. The former president told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in September that he could declassify documents “even by thinking about it,” a claim that many have contested.
Trump’s lawyers have faced pushback in court over the former president’s claims, with an appeals court noting that “the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified.”
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.