Patel has called the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago “unlawful.”
One of Donald Trump’s most outspoken defenders, Kash Patel, who in interviews and on social media has launched blistering attacks against the FBI and repeatedly insisted Trump did nothing wrong in keeping a cache of allegedly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, recently said he is no longer talking about the matter.
“I’m close to the former president, and because there’s a lot of legal matters going on surrounding the Mar-a-Lago [case], I just haven’t commented on that publicly in months,” Patel said on a right-wing radio show Thursday when asked if Trump was likely to be charged for mishandling government secrets.
Patel visited Trump in Florida the day before, he said.
Declining to comment is rarely enlightening. But for Patel, who typically opines about a wide array of legal matters and regularly defends Trump on TV and radio, the move could reflect the delicate position he now finds himself in, as federal investigators look into whether Trump or any of his aides violated federal laws when hundreds of documents marked classified were allegedly taken to Mar-a-Lago, stored in unsecured locations and then never returned, even after the National Archives and Justice Department pressed Trump to return them.
According to his own accounts, Patel was part of a two-person team that was in near-daily contact with the National Archives at that time.
MORE: Here’s what we’ve learned from the DOJ’s photo of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago
Nevertheless, in late September, Patel told another right-wing radio host that he was not publicly commenting on the FBI’s investigation anymore because “we’re working on some things with the former president.”
“We’ve agreed to just leave it there for now,” he said.
It’s unclear exactly what Patel meant by that. ABC News asked an attorney with the firm representing him if Patel and Trump were coordinating their responses to questions about the case, including inquiries from investigators, but the attorney declined to comment.
On Aug. 9, the day after FBI agents raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and found scores of documents marked classified, Patel issued a statement calling the raid “unlawful” and saying “corrupt government gangsters” had engaged in “the blatant weaponization of our government for political gain.”
A few weeks later, Patel said on a podcast that the FBI had committed “an act of evil” when it mentioned him by name in court documents, which cited his previous claims online that Trump had declassified any documents at Mar-a-Lago.