Kash Patel and Richard Grenell Part 2: Durham Probe, Hostage Return, and Fixing California
In this two-part special on Kash’s Corner, Kash Patel sits down with Richard Grenell, the former acting director of National Intelligence, for an intimate, unfiltered, and wide-ranging conversation.
Last week in part one, they discussed Russia, NATO, building peace between Serbia and Kosovo, and Grenell’s personal battles with cancer.
Now in part two, they discuss the Durham probe, their work together in the intelligence community and in the Trump White House, and Grenell’s plan to fix California.
Below is a rush transcript of this Kash’s Corner episode from Nov 5, 2021. This transcript may not be in its final form and may be updated.
Kash Patel: Hey, everybody. As promised, we’re back with part two of our interview with Ric Grenell, former acting director of National Intelligence. We previously talked about Germany, Serbia, Kosovo, his personal battle with cancer. And now we’re getting ready to dive into everything from Russia gate, to the intelligence community, to the media. And I think you’re in for an exciting episode.
So here’s a question that I know a lot of people have asked me because they know you and I are such close friends and we’re partners in government. And it’s one of your most prominent roles, but did you ever want to be the director of National Intelligence?
Richard Grenell: No. I didn’t want to be acting. I didn’t want to be DNI. You know this. I turned it down multiple times.
Mr. Patel: So what happened? How does one get to… I mean, I have my own stories about me not wanting certain jobs and ending up in them, but DNI, that’s the cabinet-level position. You’re the head of the U.S. intelligence community, the DNI being the office of the director of National Intelligence. I mean, it doesn’t get much bigger than that in terms of U.S. intelligence.
Mr. Grenell: I’ve spent 11 years at the State Department. I really know the State Department and I care very deeply about the State Department. I have a lot of friends there. I know what needs to be done at the State Department in terms of reforming. And my energy was always concentrating on the State Department, not on the intelligence side. But one thing I will say is my first intelligence briefing was in 2001.
Mr. Patel: 20 years ago.
Mr. Grenell: I’ve had tens of thousands of briefings, and even more than that when it comes to reading raw intelligence. I am an expert on the consumption of intelligence. I know what policy officials need. And when President Trump appointed me as acting director, when the president calls and he asks you to do something, you have to do it.
And he knew that I didn’t really want to, but I could hear that this was a directive. And so I did it. And I did it on a temporary basis until they found the permanent one. I was happy to do that. It was a great experience.
Mr. Patel: Well, it was a big sacrifice for you. I mean, you were in Berlin as our ambassador, with your family. And you have to move across the ocean.
Mr. Grenell: In 12 hours.
Mr. Patel: In 12 hours. And I heard you had one condition attached to your move that got you a pretty rockstar deputy, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Mr. Grenell: I did. I said to the president, I said, I will do this under one condition, that Kash comes over and helps me. And that’s the truth, because I had worked with you up until that point and knew that you were an expert on our intelligence programs.