- The DOJ is seeking testimonies from key witnesses for its Mar-a-Lago documents probe, per NYT.
- One witness is Kash Patel, a Trump ally who claimed the former president declassified records.
- Patel chose to plead the Fifth Amendment in his testimony before a grand jury this month, per NYT.
An aide and loyalist to Donald Trump had little to share in his testimony this month related to the Department of Justice’s investigation into the former president’s handling of highly sensitive government documents, The New York Times reported.
The aide, Kash Patel, was previously appointed by Trump in June as a representative to deal with the National Archives and Records Administration regarding access to presidential records.
He once claimed in an interview with Breitbart, just a few months before FBI agents seized thousands of documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, that Trump had declassified “whole sets of materials” before leaving office.
“I was there with President Trump when he said ‘We are declassifying this information,'” Patel told Breitbart.
But this month, Patel largely chose to plead the Fifth Amendment in his grand jury testimony for the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal probe, a person familiar with the situation told The Times.
Patel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNN first reported that Patel testified for several hours on October 13 before a grand jury in Washington, DC.
Federal prosecutors are now hoping to pressure Patel to testify, along with another key witness, Walt Nauta, Trump’s former valet, according to The Times.
The Times previously reported that Nauta, who continued to work for Trump when he left the White House, was seen in security footage moving boxes out of a storage room in Mar-a-Lago.
Patel had made various claims about Trump’s declassification of government records.
Shortly after FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago, Patel told Fox News that Trump made a “sweeping reclassification order” via social media.