Although Mr. Trump invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination when he was initially questioned by the office last year, he answered questions from the attorney general, Letitia James, and her lawyer in an April deposition, the transcript of which was revealed on Wednesday.
The transcript shows a combative Mr. Trump, who is named as a defendant in the case along with his company and three of his sons, at times barely letting lawyers get a word in. The former president often seems personally upset by the idea of his wife’s net worth being called into question.
Mr. Trump is seeking to have the case dismissed. A judge could rule on those efforts next month, but for now it appears the case will head to trial in early October.
Here are some highlights from the text of his testimony:
Mr. Trump refers to his time in the Oval Office with notable understatement.
Kevin Wallace, a senior lawyer in Ms. James’s office, asked the former president about his relationship with his company. He said he was not the final decision-maker, although he later suggested he might have been involved in “something big, final decisions, whatever.”
Kevin Wallace: Mr. Trump, are you currently the person with final decision-making authority in the Trump Organization?
donald c. Trump: no.
Mr. Wallace: Who would that be?
Mr. trump card: My son Eric is more involved in this than I am. I’ve been doing other things.
Mr. Trump claims to have protected the world from nuclear war while in office.
In an exchange shortly afterward, Trump acknowledged that those other things include being president.
Mr. trump card: I’ve been very busy. I considered this the most important job in the world, saving millions of lives. I think you would have a nuclear holocaust if I didn’t deal with North Korea. I think you will have a nuclear war, if I am not elected. I think you might have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth.
Mr. Trump declines to say who has expressed interest in buying Mar-a-Lago.
During the briefing, Mr. Trump claimed to own “the greatest pieces of real estate in the world” and said that if he put it up for sale, the prices offered would be astonishing. At some point, Mr. Wallace decided to test one of these assertions.
Mr. trump card: People have said to me, if you sell Mar-a-Lago, please call me. This is not for sale.
Mr. Wallace: For example, who told you that?
Mr. trump card: Well, I’d rather not say that because I don’t want to embarrass them and possibly put some of these people on the line.
Later in the session, Trump said that although he did not know who the specific people were who made such offers, “I know they are very wealthy people.”
Mr. Trump scoffs at his annual financial statements, saying he never felt they would be taken seriously.
The attorney general’s case against Trump focuses on his annual financial statements, which she says overstate the value of his estates by as much as $2.2 billion each year.
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