Donald Trump remained silent on Wednesday in the face of the New York Attorney General who was hearing him under oath on suspicion of financial fraud within his Trump Organization group, in the midst of a political storm after a spectacular search of the FBI at his home in Florida.
The former President of the United States has been targeted since 2019, along with two of his children Ivanka and Donald Jr, by a civil investigation by the New York State's top justice, Letitia James.
He was heard in Mrs. James' office in the morning in Manhattan, but invoked the infamous 5th Amendment to the US Constitution, which authorizes not to testify against oneself.
In a statement, Mr. Trump said he was once again the victim of a “witch hunt” and claimed to have “refused to answer questions, under the rights and prerogatives granted to every citizen by the Constitution of the States- United”.
Barely arrived around 1:00 p.m. GMT in the services of Ms. James, an elected African-American magistrate of the Democratic Party, the Republican billionaire made fun on his social network Truth Social of his “sumptuous, magnificent and expensive office (…) great working conditions as people get killed in New York and she spends her time and effort trying to 'catch Trump'”.
'Banana Republic'< /strong>
When he landed in the economic and cultural capital of the United States on Tuesday evening, the businessman announced that he was going to “see the racist Attorney General of New York”. He considers himself, with his group Trump Organization, “attacked from all sides” in a country governed by his opponent Joe Biden.
A “Banana Republic” according to him.
One of the Trump sons, Eric, also denounced on Twitter the fact that his father was forced to “give a statement in front of the most corrupt of prosecutors generals of the United States (Letitia James). The “evil” incarnate according to Eric Trump.
This hearing of Donald Trump – who left power on January 20, 2021 without recognizing the victory of Joe Biden and who wants to run again in 2024 – had been requested by Ms. James for months and had been set for July 15. But the death of Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana, had postponed the event even further.
- Listen to Luc Laliberté, specialist in American politics at the microphone by Alexandre Dubé on QUB radio:
The Trumps finally gave in to pressure after three years of Ms. James' investigation.
According to CNN, Ivanka and Donald Jr were quietly interviewed by the Attorney General's office in late July and early August.
The civil investigation against the family group Trump Organization had been opened after the explosive testimony in Congress in Washington by one of Donald Trump's former personal lawyers, Michael Cohen, alleging fraudulent assessments, up or down , assets within the Trump Organization, to obtain loans, obtain tax reductions or better insurance compensation.
Letitia James assured in January that she had “brought to light important evidence which suggests that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization had falsely and fraudulently valued a number of assets”, in particular golf courses or the personal triplex of the American billionaire, located in the Trump Tower in New York.
Allegations brushed aside by Donald Trump's lawyers.
Donald Trump Jr.
The Attorney General does not have the power to indict Donald Trump but she can initiate civil proceedings and in particular claim financial damages.
The alleged facts are also the subject of an investigation, criminal this time, led by Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg.
The hearing comes two days after an unprecedented search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago, Florida home sparked outrage among Republicans.
He even suggested on Truth Social that the FBI may have “placed” evidence against him during the operation.
Never before had a former tenant of the White House been worried by the courts in this way.
Does the federal police search have to do with the many boxes that Donald Trump took with him when he left the White House in January 2021? Is it related to the investigation into his responsibility in the assault on the Capitol? Does it rather relate to the suspicions of financial fraud of which the Trump Organization is the object in New York?
Neither the Department of Justice, nor the FBI, nor the justice of New York have commented this week.
Donald Trump, who is ostensibly flirting with a new candidacy in 2024, maintains his innocence in all these matters.