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Kash Patel granted immunity to testify in Mar-a-Lago documents case

Kash Patel granted immunity to testify in Mar-a-Lago documents case

Former Defense Department Chief of Staff Kash Patel speaks during a campaign rally at Minden-Tahoe Airport on October 8, 2022 in Minden, Nevada.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Trump adviser Kash Patel has been granted immunity by the Justice Department, NBC News has confirmed, after a judge ruled that an immunity offer was the only way to compel Patel to testify in the ongoing investigation into classified documents removed from the White House in the final days of the former president’s first term. President Donald Trump.

Patel is expected to testify in the case soon, NBC reported.

Patel’s testimony is seen as key to whether Trump declassified any of the documents he took with him to his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. FBI agents removed thousands of government documents during a search of Trump’s properties in August, including more than 100 with classified information.

Trump has claimed he declassified all the documents he took with him before he left office, but so far aides testifying before the grand jury have said they have seen no evidence Trump divulged anything. Presidents have broad authority to declassify documents, but declassification orders must follow a procedure, and there is no indication that Trump ever initiated this procedure before taking the documents with him.

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Patel, however, argued in an August interview with The Wall Street Journal that he personally witnessed Trump verbally declassifying documents.

Patel also indicated that Trump wanted the documents released because the former president believed the records supported his claim that he was unfairly targeted by the Justice Department because of his campaign’s ties to Russia.

“It had to do with Russiagate. It had to do with the Hillary email scandal. It had to do with a lot of other things,” Patel told the Journal. “I [Trump] said, ‘This is all declassified’.”

But when Patel was later called to testify before a grand jury in October, he reportedly did not make the same claims. instead of that, he repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

In a case that hinges on whether Trump mishandled state secrets, the key question is whether the documents marked classified are actually state secrets.

Patel served on the National Security Council during the Trump administration, and in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, he became an influential voice arguing that the president should not accept his election loss to President Joe Biden.

Patel remained on Trump’s staff after the former president moved to Florida, one of the few senior aides to do so. This spring, Patel was given a seat on the board of Trump Media and Technology Group, the company behind Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social.

But a few months later, he and Trump and a group of Trump loyalists left the board of the beleaguered company, which is currently the target of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.



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