Former Trump advisor Kash Patel has been granted immunity in return for testimony to a grand jury about the government documents stored at Mar-a-Lago. Until now, Patel was one of Trump’s most vocal defenders, and insisted that all the documents in his Florida home had been declassified.
Patel has appeared on right-wing media to make the claim that Trump, as president, has the almost magical ability to unilaterally declassify boxes simply by standing over them and uttering the words. All of this is contradicted by the two major facts: Trump is not the president, and there’s nothing in U.S. law to confirm that even a president can bypass declassification processes in this way.
When a redacted affidavit for the search warrant on Mar-a-Lago was publicly released, Patel’s (unredacted) name appeared in it, citing his previous public statements that Trump had declassified documents, and appearing to reject that claim, although much of that section of the affidavit was redacted. Patel has claimed this unredacted mention of his public statements endangers him.
Patel appeared before the Grand Jury to testify about the Mar-a-Lago documents last month — but reportedly pled the Fifth Amendment to all pertinent questions. Now, he’s been granted immunity, a promise that he cannot be charged with a crime for anything he discloses to the grand jury in regard to this case.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Prosecutors argued Mr. Patel had no reasonable expectation that he would be prosecuted based on the kinds of questions they were asking [one source said], an argument the judge didn’t accept. The immunity grant leaves the government only able to charge Mr. Patel, if at all, using information obtained independently of his immunized testimony.
As seen in a clip below, Trump has relied on Patel as his witness that he declassified the documents at Mar-a-Lago. Though this has been his go-to defense, the crimes outlined in the affidavit do not require that the documents in question are classified.
As for Patel and what he’ll share with the grand jury — well, even as the decision was being made to grant him immunity in exchange for testimony, he was appearing on the far-right Real America’s Voice to call for Congress (if Republicans take over after midterm elections) to investigate and defund the FBI and Department of Justice, so his compliance still may not come easily.
On the same day it is reported that he received limited immunity to testify in the documents case against Trump, Kash Patel calls for defunding the FBI and DOJ. pic.twitter.com/BQ7mbeV4FJ
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) November 3, 2022