Kash Patel Granted Immunity In Mar-a-Lago Probe

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 24: Kashyap "Kash" Patel speaks during U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalts campaign stop at Chilly Jillz restaurant in Boulder City, Nev., on Monday, October 24, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call,... UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 24: Kashyap "Kash" Patel speaks during U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalts campaign stop at Chilly Jillz restaurant in Boulder City, Nev., on Monday, October 24, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS

Trump adviser Kash Patel received immunity to testify before a federal grand jury on Wednesday in the Justice Department’s investigation of the Mar-a-Lago documents scandal, per multiple reports.

After the DOJ ramped up its inquiry into Trump’s hidden government records in the spring, Patel staked out a public position on the matter that could prove very relevant: he’s claimed over and over, without a shred of evidence, that Trump declassified the records he squirreled away at Mar-a-Lago before leaving office.

Per the New York Times, prosecutors are interested in questioning Patel about that claim, as spurious as it may seem.

Federal prosecutors initially put Patel before a grand jury last month, where he invoked his right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and declined to testify, reports say.

The DOJ then asked a federal judge to force Patel to testify, the Wall Street Journal reported. Per the Times, Chief D.C. District Court Judge Beryl Howell said that Patel could only be compelled to testify if the government agreed to offer him immunity, thereby nullifying his claims against self-incrimination.

Reports say that Patel will testify before the grand jury soon. The Journal reported that prosecutors have offered a similar immunity deal to Trump attorney Christina Bobb, who signed a verification saying that all classified-marked records at Mar-a-Lago had been turned over to the government, weeks before FBI searches found reams more. Other Trump aides have reportedly received similar offers.

It’s a turn in the investigation that marks a serious effort by prosecutors to nail down the testimony of key figures around Trump, showing that they’re willing to cast aside potential charges for Trump aides in favor of testimony about what the former President was doing with piles of classified-marked records.

Patel entered Trumpworld via the office of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), where he played a key role in the then-House Intelligence Committee chair’s efforts to discredit the Trump-Russia investigation.

From there, Patel spearheaded various Trump efforts to stymie probes into allegations of his wrongdoing. After Trump’s loss in the 2020 election but before he left office, Patel received a lame duck appointment as chief of staff to the acting secretary of defense.

He’s been embroiled in the Trump documents scandal in two ways. On one track, Patel has claimed loudly and publicly — seemingly timed with important steps in the investigation — that Trump declassified all of the records before he left office.

Federal law states that White House records belong to the government, not the occupant of the office. But there are more charges with tougher penalties on mishandling of national defense information, a category into which classified-marked records almost certainly fall.

Patel told Breitbart News in May that Trump “declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves. I was there with President Trump when he said ‘We are declassifying this information.'”

No evidence has emerged to support that claim, and Trump’s attorneys have studiously refused to state it in court.

On the other track, Trump appointed Patel in June to be his representative to the National Archives and Records Administration, the agency responsible for storing the records that Trump took. Trump also appointed MAGA journalist John Solomon to the position.

The pair were supposedly tasked with research into the origins of Russiagate, but the two, again, seem to have mostly put out arguments suggesting that Trump was not guilty, or less liable, for the crimes the DOJ is investigating: both used their NARA access to claim that the records had been declassified, and that government employees were simply throwing up roadblocks out of incompetence or malice.

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