- Transcripts of the testimony by Trump’s former director of communications Farah Griffin indicate that Patel may have been the Director of the CIA for 14 precious minutes.
The bizarre details of what transpired during the last days of the Trump administration keep trickling out. In the just released tranche of transcripts by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, Alyssa Farah Griffin, a former director of communications at the White House, testified that President Trump nearly fired CIA Director Gina Haspel and installed his trusted aide Kash Patel in her place.
This is not a new revelation as it was reported last year by Axios, among others, that Trump’s attempt was derailed only after he learned that the entire intelligence community leadership was ready to resign if Haspel was fired. A former aide termed it a”suicide pact” by the CIA staff. But what’s new in the transcripts of Griffin’s testimony in April 2022 is that the White House went ahead with the firing only to back down almost immediately.
“They were able to stop it,” Farah Griffin reportedly told the House select committee about the firing. “But allegedly, for about 14 minutes, Kash was actually the CIA director,” Business Insider quoted Griffin from the transcripts as saying.
There is no public record of Haspel being replaced by Patel, even for 14 minutes, the report adds, and quotes Griffin herself as prefacing her testimony saying, “I will share one thing that I cannot confirm myself, but it’s worth looking into.”
Earlier news reports also said that Trump’s political action committee paid the legal bills of Patel, and other witnesses, involved in the U.S. justice department’s criminal inquiry into the former president’s improper handling of classified documents. Patel was granted immunity last month for his grand jury testimony, The Washington Post reported, citing anonymous sources.
A report by The Guardian said, “Patel, who has already appeared before a grand jury in the case, is a key witness for his knowledge of the final days of the Trump administration and whether the ousted president, as he has insisted, moved to declassify documents he took with him to Florida.”
The New York Times, however, reported that Patel, despite the immunity, asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
As the Justice Department’s investigations into the events of January 6 and the Mar-a-Lago documents transfer close in, there are like to be more revelations about the totality of the role Patel played in the final chapter of the Trump presidency.
As the Republican Party begins to distance itself from the waning influence of Trump, it has to be seen if Patel remains the last loyalist standing.