Former President Donald Trump is trying to do something that doesn’t come naturally to him: remain silent.
On Wednesday, the former president invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions in a deposition for the civil fraud case that New York State Attorney General Letitia James has prosecuted for three years.
James often mentioned Trump when she campaigned for the AG role, stating multiple times that she would “get him” on something. Before he went into the deposition, Trump posted three videos on his Truth Social account of James’s campaign appearances where she promised to do just that. In one video, James says people should vote for her because “Donald Trump,” pledging “we’re gonna definitely sue him. We’re gonna be a real pain in the ass. He’s going to know my name personally.”
In his statement, Trump said James has a vendetta against him. “James developed a political platform and made a career out of maliciously attacking me and my business before she was even elected, or reviewed one of the millions of pages of documents we willingly produced,” the statement read.
“I did nothing wrong, which is why, after five years of looking, the Federal, State, and local governments, together with the Fake News Media have found nothing,” he wrote. “This is a vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition, the likes of which our Country has never seen before. The United States Constitution exists for this very purpose and I will utilize it to defend myself against this malicious attack by this administration, the Attorney General’s Office, and all other attacks on my family, my business, and my Country.”
No doubt James hoped Wednesday’s deposition would set up Trump in a perjury trap. Apparently, Trump and his attorney thought so, too.
In his statement posted on Truth Social, Trump said that there was good reason for taking the Fifth and it has everything to do with Merrick Garland’s FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago on Monday.
I once asked, “if you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Now I know the answer to that question. When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice. If there was a question in my mind, the raid of my home, Mar-a-Lago on Monday by the FBI, just two days prior to this deposition wiped out any uncertainty. I have absolutely no choice because the current Administration and many prosecutors in the Country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency.
Accordingly and under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.
Fox News reports James’s three-year-long fishing expedition is an attempt to find that Trump “improperly inflated the value of assets on financial statements in order to obtain loans and tax benefits.” She hopes to seize Trump’s New York properties, including his lush Trump Tower home. Trump moved to Florida full-time for obvious reasons.
In addition to the Monday FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and New York Attorney General James’s civil case, Fox News reminds us that “the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings.”
DNC and Hillary Clinton attorney Marc Elias wrote this week on Twitter that the point of the raid on Mar-a-Lago was to keep Trump from running in 2024. As if we didn’t already know that.