- There’s speculation that the former aide on the National Security Council, and chief of staff to the acting secretary of Defense, could likely play a major role in a second Trump administration.
Former Trump administration official and loyalist Kash Patel says his former boss will target media either “criminally” or “civilly,” if he is elected again. “We will go out and find the conspirators, not just in government but in the media,” the Indian American said on a podcast hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.“Yes, we’re going to come after the people in the media who lied about American citizens, who helped Joe Biden rig presidential elections — we’re going to come after you.” He said the Trump administration will “use the Constitution to prosecute them for crimes they said we have always been guilty of but never have.”
CNN noted that Patel, “continues to hold sway with the former president and would likely serve in a national security capacity in a second Trump administration.” A former adviser on the National Security Council, and chief of staff to the acting secretary of Defense, he is currently a fellow at the Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank that is working closely with the Trump campaign on preparations for a second-term agenda.
During the podcast, discussing a possible Trump presidency in 2025, Bannon asked Patel whether he would “deliver the goods” to “get rolling on prosecutions” when he returns to the former president’s new administration. Replying in the affirmative, Patel noted that the Trump team had a “bench” of “all-America patriots,” but added that he did not want to name any names “so the radical left-wing media can terrorize them.” He continued: “One thing we learned in the Trump administration in that first round is that we got to get all-American patriots from top to bottom, from law enforcement, intel collection, offensive operation DOD [Department of Defense], CIA, everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Erica Knight, a spokeswoman for Patel, issued a statement to media outlets including The New York Times and CNN. “When President Trump takes office in 2025, we will prosecute anyone that broke the law and end the weaponized, two-tier system of justice,” the statement read.
A look at Patel’s steady rise in the Trump administration shows how he came about from a mere staffer to an insider. It is also increasingly evident that Trump’s dependence on Patel has increased since the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection, his election lies, and now the transfer gate. He has held several senior jobs in the Trump administration.
As a top adviser to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, he had led the lawmaker’s efforts to rebut special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. He later joined the staff of the National Security Council, where he became the senior director for counterterrorism, and then was appointed senior adviser at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He was named chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller, a few days after the general election.
In January 2021, there were reports that Trump had considered Patel for appointment as acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency to replace Gina Haspel. However, “Trump’s fall plan fell apart last April after Attorney General Bill Barr threatened to resign over it,” as reported by Politico at the time.
Almost a year and a half later, in May 2022, Patel came quite close to getting one of the top positions at the FBI. According to a report in Politico, last spring, former president Donald Trump sought to name Patel, the Deputy Director of FBI, when he was planning to oust FBI Director Christopher Wray and replace him with counterintelligence head William Evanina.