WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has granted immunity to Trump adviser Kash Patel after a judge ruled it was the only way to compel his grand jury testimony in the Mar-a-Lago case, a source familiar with the matter said.
Patel is expected to testify soon, the source said. The Justice Department has declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the development.
Patel has said that before he left office, former President Donald Trump declassified certain documents that were found at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. If proven, the assertion could affect any potential criminal case against Trump over mishandling of secrets.
No evidence has surfaced supporting Trump’s contention that he declassified the documents marked classified that were taken to his estate.
Patel held various national security roles in the Trump administration, including Pentagon chief of staff.
In June, Trump named Patel as one of his designated representatives to interact with the National Archives and Records Administration in a dispute over documents he retained after he left office.
NBC News reported in February that the archives found classified material among the boxes of White House documents Trump improperly took to Mar-a-Lago. Patel told Breitbart News in May that Trump had declassified the documents but that their markings were not updated.
"Trump declassified whole sets of materials in anticipation of leaving government that he thought the American public should have the right to read themselves," Patel said then.
"It’s information that Trump felt spoke to matters regarding everything from Russiagate to the Ukraine impeachment fiasco to major national security matters of great public importance — anything the president felt the American people had a right to know is in there and more," Patel said at the time, claiming he was with Trump when the then-president said, "We are declassifying this information."
Patel added: "White House counsel failed to generate the paperwork to change the classification markings, but that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t declassified."