Top Trump Ally Testifies In Justice Dept’s Classified Docs Investigation

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Kash Patel, a former figure in the Trump administration who has gone on to work for the former president in his post-presidential period, has testified for a second time before a grand jury working on the Justice Department’s classified documents investigation.

Patel did so after a grant of immunity covering details he provided under questioning and what CNN reported as direction from a federal judge for Patel to face additional questioning. In an earlier appearance last month, Patel repeatedly invoked his rights under the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, although the nature of his potential worries about prosecution isn’t immediately clear. The Justice Department sought court intervention after his reluctance. Trump is facing an investigation into his handling of a large array of documents from his administration that were marked as classified, and Patel has — outside of court and not under oath in any context — raised claims Trump declassified the materials, although it’s unclear whether there’s any substantive indication at all that Trump actually did so. Trump apparently hasn’t explicitly claimed in court to have declassified the contested materials.

The classification status of the challenged documents isn’t critical to their relevance to the department’s investigation, although it could also boost the Justice Department’s case. According to The Guardian, a source indicated the questions Patel faced when he reappeared before a jury “centered on Patel’s claims the documents that the FBI found at the property had been declassified while Trump was still president, as well as why the documents had been removed from the White House.” His responses aren’t immediately clear. Patel was designated as one of the former president’s representatives to the National Archives amid the wide-ranging efforts by both the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Justice Department to reclaim records Trump held.

The Guardian also says in a report issued just this Sunday evening that there are still lingering concerns about whether Trump still has even more records, even after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago and recovered some 100 more. That raid came after a federal subpoena demanding the return of a wide range of documents ID’ed as classified. Trump-associated lawyer Christina Bobb signed a statement claiming everything covered by the subpoena was getting provided to federal authorities, and she has since also answered federal questions in the investigation.