Trump had brought it on himself. He had sued a reporter, accusing him of being reckless and dishonest in a book that raised questions about Trump’s net worth. The reporter’s attorneys turned the tables and brought Trump in for a deposition.
For two straight days, they asked Trump question after question that touched on the same theme: Trump’s honesty.
The lawyers confronted the mogul with his past statements — and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented. The lawyers were relentless. Trump, the bigger-than-life mogul, was vulnerable — cornered, out-prepared and under oath.
Thirty times, they caught him.
Trump had misstated sales at his condo buildings. Inflated the price of membership at one of his golf clubs. Overstated the depth of his past debts and the number of his employees.
That deposition — 170 transcribed pages — offers extraordinary insights into Trump’s relationship with the truth. Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did.
The lawyer gave Donald Trump a note, written in Trump’s own handwriting. He asked Trump to read it aloud.
Trump may not have realized it yet, but he had walked into a trap.
“Peter, you’re a real loser,” Trump began reading.
The mogul had sent the note to a reporter, objecting to a story that said Trump owned a “small minority stake” in a Manhattan real estate project. Trump insisted that the word “small” was incorrect. Trump continued reading: “I wrote, ‘Is 50 percent small?’ ”
“This [note] was intended to indicate that you had a 50 percent stake in the project, correct?” said the lawyer.
“That’s correct,” Trump said.
For the first of many times that day, Trump was about to be caught saying something that wasn’t true.
But, even under the spotlight of this campaign, Trump has never had an experience quite like this deposition on Dec. 19 and 20, 2007.
He was trapped in a room — with his own prior statements and three high-powered lawyers.
“A very clear and visible side effect of my lawyers’ questioning of Trump is that he [was revealed as] a routine and habitual fabulist,” said Timothy L. O’Brien, the author Trump had sued.
The Washington Post sent the Trump campaign a detailed list of questions about this deposition, listing all the times when Trump seemed to have been caught in a false or unsupported statement. The Post asked Trump whether he wanted to challenge any of those findings — and whether he had felt regret when confronted with them.
He did not answer those questions.
Typically Trump follows fear rather than rationality and the Trumpvirus will continue to spread, trying to complete a border wall that will have no effect.
Coronavirus: In addition to screening travelers “prior to boarding” from certain designated high risk countries, or areas within those countries, they will also be screened when they arrive in America. Thank you! @VP @SecAzar @CDCgov @CDCDirector
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2020
— KidsInCages (@TimeForFortySix) March 1, 2020
“Trump is the worst person to possibly ease people’s fears. Trump’s whole thing is that he whips arenas into a frenzy of anger and blood lust. Hoping Trump can calm people down is like hoping cocaine can fight insomnia.”
Then there’s this guy:
CAPITOL HILL: @LindseyGrahamSC says @realDonaldTrump "probably knows more about medicine and specifically viruses than any of the so-called scientists at the NIH and CDC. If anyone is going to eradicate this plague it'll be the president." pic.twitter.com/lvQmrBtlwM
— Dan Lyons (@realdanlyons) February 26, 2020
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) March 2, 2020
The coronavirus was likely spreading for WEEKS in Washington State but we didn't know because fewer than 500 people in the United States have been tested.
The WHO had tests available – it sent tests to 50 countries – but the Trump administration didn't request them.
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 2, 2020
Not if but when our southern border becomes a coronavirus issue
Trump: Administration 'very strongly' considering closing southern border amid coronavirus outbreak https://t.co/TjiXocNcRf
— Rebecca Lynn (@Rebecca02573818) March 1, 2020
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) March 2, 2020
— Observer Arts (@ObserverArts) March 1, 2020
"Liberal" media. https://t.co/RNnMNYonbR
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) March 2, 2020
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 2, 2020
Aide to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu caught on tape: “We’ve succeeded in whipping up that hatred. Hatred is what unites our camp.”https://t.co/9uvoiEE0cx
— Dylan Williams (@dylanotes) February 29, 2020