Douglas Andrews / August 11, 2022

Trump Takes the Fifth in New York

New York’s obsessive attorney general has made it her mission to get Donald Trump, but the former president isn’t about to help her.

We suppose it’s altogether fitting that the famous quote about a prosecutor being able to indict a ham sandwich has its beginnings with a former chief judge of New York’s Court of Appeals named Sol Wachtler. Because New York is the place where hard-left Attorney General Letitia James is continuing her obsessive quest to put Donald Trump behind bars and thereby remove him from presidential circulation.

But if James thought Trump would let his ego and his mouth get the best of him during deposition, she was sorely disappointed. As The Wall Street Journal reports:

Donald Trump said he declined to answer questions from the New York attorney general’s office during his deposition in its civil-fraud investigation into the financial dealings of the former president and his company. In a statement Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he was following the advice of his counsel to assert his right under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution to not answer questions.

“When your family, your company, and all the people in your orbit have become the targets of an unfounded, politically motivated Witch Hunt supported by lawyers, prosecutors, and the Fake News Media, you have no choice,” Mr. Trump said.

Who can blame him? In the wake of the Biden “Justice” Department’s unprecedented raid on his Florida residence earlier in the week — a court-approved search ostensibly conducted over a matter called the Presidential Records Act, and a raid ostensibly more urgent than the long-overdue one on Hunter Biden’s home — Donald Trump appears unwilling to give his political enemies the rope with which they’ll most certainly hang him.

“This is a vindictive and self-serving fishing expedition,” Trump continued in a lengthy statement he posted to Truth Social. “The United States Constitution exists for this very purpose, and I will utilize it to the fullest extent to defend myself against this malicious attack by this administration, this Attorney General’s Office, and all other attacks on my family, my business, and our country.”

It’s been quite a week for the 76-year-old former president, and it ain’t over yet. But even the man’s detractors must marvel at his energy and resilience in the face of these endless assaults. As Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan put it: “President Trump came to town and shook up the place. He changed the clique that exists in D.C. He took on the bureaucracy and everything else. The Swamp said no. And that’s why they go after him so hard.”

While the Mar-a-Lago raid is separate from the state attorney general’s probe, Trump said the search of his Florida residence also affected his decision to take the Fifth. “I have absolutely no choice because the current Administration and many prosecutors in this Country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency,” he concluded.

“At the end of his presidency,” writes columnist James Bovard in the New York Post, “Barack Obama trucked 30 million pages of his administration’s records to Chicago, promising to digitize them and eventually put them online — a move that outraged historians. More than five years after Obama’s presidency ended, the National Archives webpage reveals that zero pages have been digitized and disclosed.”

And yet the FBI this week sent 30 agents to raid Trump’s home.

Double standard? Nah.

As for AG James, she’s been after Trump since 2019, when she began investigating whether he and his company “made false representations to banks, tax authorities and insurers for financial gain,” as summarized by The Wall Street Journal. “Her office has said that it had collected significant evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.”

Trump, of course, is unbowed, and it’s not surprising that he also launched a verbal and visual counterpunch with this four-minute video, which gives every indication that he’s gearing up to run again in 2024:

“Trump makes a good case as to why he should not cooperate with James’s witch hunt,” writes Power Line’s John Hinderaker. “Nevertheless, the question — why would you plead the Fifth if you are innocent? — is an obvious one to which, in many minds, there is no good answer. No doubt this will be added to the Left’s litany of Trump’s many real and imagined transgressions.”

As we said, it’s been a helluva week. As Congressman Jordan tweeted: “Only President Trump could handle this level of harassment from the government and media. The toughest guy in American politics!”

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