Kashyap Patel, former aide to Devin Nunes turned one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors, has been granted limited immunity to secure his testimony before the grand jury investigating the theft of classified documents and their illegal retention at Mar-a-Lago.
The Wall Street Journal reports that in an earlier appearance before the grand jury, Patel repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment, making it impossible to gain meaningful information. Attorneys for the Department of Justice attempted to get the presiding judge to force Patel to provide information relevant to the investigation, and argued that none of the questions they were asking were directed at surfacing any criminal action by Patel, but the judge ruled that Patel could not be made to testify without immunity on the basis of possible future action. Now Patel will get that immunity and will make a second appearance before the grand jury.
When headlines announce that someone will testify on a grant of immunity, it is generally taken to mean that some kind of deal has been reached. That is not the case here. Patel does not want to testify. He remains a hostile witness. He’s just not being given any choice. And the fact that the DOJ is willing to give him immunity to hear what he has to say shows that this investigation has just one real target.Campaign Action
Patel is the only person who claims to be a witness to Trump declassifying the documents found at Mar-a-Lago. Speaking to Breitbart News, Patel said, “I was there with President Trump when he said, ‘We are declassifying this information.’”
It’s a fair bet that this unique claim was one of the first things that Patel was asked about when he was brought before the grand jury. And one of the first issues was he pulled out the Fifth Amendment. Now he will be facing that question again, and will have nowhere to hide. It’s a good bet that his answer will not match what he told Breitbart.
That is, if Patel chooses to answer at all. The fact that he declared he didn’t have to testify under the protection provided by the Fifth Amendment is interesting just in itself. Because it means that Patel did not try to slip testimony on the basis of executive privilege.
That could mean that the questions Patel was being asked all concerned issues that arose after Trump left office. Or it might mean that Patel was saving that executive privilege claim in his other pocket, for just this occasion.
Patel first gained the favor of Donald Trump by helping former congressman Nunes write a memo that put FBI sources and methods at risk in an effort to undercut the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Patel became a frequent visitor to the White House and joined Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine in attempting to find dirt on Hunter Biden. As his “Ukraine whisperer,” Trump made Patel an aide to the National Security Council. Trump considered Patel his Ukraine expert during the efforts to blackmail the Ukrainian government that led to Trump’s first impeachment.
Patel next helped get Sec. of Defense Mark Esper fired by declaring Esper’s refusal to send the army against Black Lives Matter protesters “disloyal” to Trump. Trump rewarded Patel’s own loyalty by making him chief of staff to the new Secretary of Defense. Patel was reportedly Trump’s pick to head the CIA—a sharp rise from a congressional aide in just three years—when a little matter of getting tossed from the office got in the way.
During his time in Washington, Patel developed a well-earned reputation as a man who would cut any corner, and stab any back, to get closer to Trump. As a Pentagon official told The Washington Post last year, Patel was simply “a direct threat to lawful government.”
He also wrote the “worst children’s book of all time,” in which he is the heroic defender of good king Donald.
More recently, Patel has been in the news as one of Trump’s chief spokesmen on the classified documents that the FBI removed from Mar-a-Lago following a warranted search. Unsurprisingly, Patel has been the leader of the “Trump declassified them all, so he did nothing wrong” choir.
However, no matter how many times Trump has made that claim in public, he hasn’t done so in court. He hasn’t done it, because he knows that it’s a lie. As a quick check of just one recent and relevant case shows… “declassification, even by the President, must follow established procedures.” Declassification of highly compartmentalized documents regarding the nuclear capacity of another nation must follow lengthy and detailed steps leading to declassification, none of which involves Trump “just thinking about it.”
The immunity grant for Patel took effect on Wednesday, signaling that his testimony before the jury has either already happened, or will happen soon. As with all grand jury testimony, it’s unlikely that any of it will be made public. However, should that jury issue indictments, Patel is likely to be given the opportunity for an encore.
Texting Democratic voters and helping them make a "plan" to vote is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to help get out the vote. Click here to see what opportunities are available, and sign up for a get-out-the-vote texting shift now!