“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,” Trump said in a statement that was released to the public.
Trump was to be deposed by lawyers from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office as part of a more than three-year civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization misled lenders, insurers and tax authorities by providing them misleading financial statements.
In a separate two-page statement Trump read during the deposition that was obtained by CNN on Thursday, he criticized James, who was in the room, calling her a “renegade prosecutor” running a “vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition.”
A source familiar with the matter said Trump was angry at the start of the deposition and the mood was tense. But once the questioning began, with the state attorneys saying he could repeat the “same answer,” the atmosphere turned professional and cordial.
Trump said in a post on Truth Social earlier Wednesday morning that he would be “seeing” James “for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in US history! My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!”
Some Trump advisers had advocated that the former President answer questions since he previously tested about his financial statements under oath, while others were warned him against providing any answers because of the potential legal