During Trump loyalist Kash Patel’s testimony in front of a grand jury on Thursday, prosecutors reportedly confronted him with his public claims that then-President Trump had declassified the documents the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago before he left office.
According to the Washington Post, Patel was asked about those assertions plus why and how Trump had brought the documents to Mar-a-Lago in the first place. It’s unclear what the ex-Trump official’s answers were.
The prosecutors didn’t expect Patel to say anything incriminating about Trump, the Post reports. Rather, the point of having Patel testify was reportedly designed to help them to figure out Trump’s defense strategy in the Mar-a-Lago case. More specifically, how the ex-president plans to invoke the declassification defense.
Patel was reportedly granted immunity for his testimony on Thursday, protecting him from facing criminal charges over whatever he told the grand jury – but only if he was truthful.
The ex-Trump official previously appeared in front of the grand jury last month for the first time, during which he reportedly invoked the Fifth Amendment.
Patel’s testimony came several months after he told far-right outlet Breitbart that Trump had “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,’” Patel said during the Breitbart interview in May.
Trump himself has claimed he had declassified the records with his mind (which isn’t a thing).
But curiously enough, while Trump repeatedly insists in interviews and on his Twitter knockoff app Truth Social that the documents were declassified, his lawyers have refused to make the same argument in court.