Donald Trump declined to answer questions during a deposition in a New York state investigation into his businesses on Wednesday, citing his constitutional right against self-incrimination amid escalating legal issues. worsen.
Trump said in a statement that “the current administration and many prosecutors across the country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency,” leaving him “no choice” but to remain silent. The former US president’s comments followed a search of his Mar-a-Lago property in South Florida by FBI agents on Monday as part of a separate investigation.
“As a result, on the advice of my attorney and for all of the above reasons, I have declined to answer questions about the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the Constitution of the United States,” Trump said. .
Trump’s refusal to answer questions under oath represents a major reversal for the former president, who once said only guilty members of the ‘mafia’ would assert their right to silence under the constitution’s Fifth Amendment. American.
But it comes as the former president and many of his Republican supporters have taken an increasingly defiant stance, attacking US judicial and governmental institutions when facing multiple legal investigations by federal and state authorities as he plans to run again for the presidency in 2024.
Trump had resisted giving evidence in the civil case brought by Letitia James, the New York state attorney general, but eventually agreed to be deposed on Wednesday. The investigation relates to allegations that Trump provided “fraudulent and misleading financial statements”, including inflated appraisals of his properties.
The former president’s decision comes as a legal and political storm enveloped him following Monday’s FBI raid, which was linked to a separate federal investigation into his handling of classified records from his time in the House. Blanche which were found at Mar-a -Lago.
The US Department of Justice and the FBI have so far failed to explain the rationale behind the raid, the first in US history at the home of a former president. However, the move should have been approved by a federal judge based on “probable cause” that a crime was being committed at the site of the search.
Speaking to reporters in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “Well, like I’m sure you can understand that’s not something I can talk about.”
Trump and his lawyers harshly criticized the search as unnecessary, but they did not release the warrant which would include additional details in the case.
Since the FBI raid, many Republicans have rushed to Trump’s defense and criticized US law enforcement for executing a political vendetta and offering no explanation for the unprecedented search, even though he It is standard practice not to comment on ongoing investigations.
A group of House Republicans met with Trump on Tuesday night at his New Jersey golf club to voice their support and encourage him to move forward with a 2024 bid. “He’s not discouraged. He’s not at all fazed by what the DoJ did to him,” Indiana Republican Jim Banks told Fox News.
“House Republicans are united more than ever to fight alongside President Trump to save this country. . . And the sooner he gets out and starts campaigning, the better he helps Republicans in the midterm elections,” he added.