On Wednesday, a transcript was released containing additional portions of a deposition of Donald Trump taken amid legal challenges against him from writer E. Jean Carroll over his response to her sharing an account of suffering an incident of sexual assault perpetrated by the ex-president against her in the 1990s.
In the document, which was made available after Trump’s legal team dropped a request to keep the materials hidden from public view following the federal judge’s decision to release other portions, Trump repeatedly commits himself to past statements he made maligning Carroll, who has since sued him directly over what she says originally took place. Among the comments at issue were remarks he made while president in which he blamed the promotion of Carroll’s account of what took place on seeking “publicity.” (He looped New York Magazine into that claim, obviously both implicitly and directly implicating Carroll in his imagined version of what was happening.) Trump also directly accused Carroll of speaking out for the sake of trying to boost her book sales in the deposition. That’s “what she wanted, to sell a book,” Trump insisted under oath.
Carroll’s initial litigation was over claims of defamation covering Trump’s initial response to the writer sharing what she says took place. In the additional portions of Trump’s deposition made public this week, he also mistook Carroll in a photo showing the two together for Marla Maples, a former wife of his. “That’s Marla, yeah,” Trump told Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer for Carroll who was conducting the deposition. Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, cut in to tell the now former president — whose deposition was conducted late last year, well after he left office — it was actually Carroll in the image.
At another pointed moment, Kaplan asked Trump about some of the past accusations he made regarding Carroll, including — besides the claims of seeking profits — that she had a political agenda. “How did you know she had a political agenda if you didn’t know who she was?” Kaplan inquired. (It’s Trump who originated the idea he was largely unaware of Carroll’s identity.) The ex-president claimed somebody else — who he did not identify — told him of Democratic political allegiances on Carroll’s part. “Somebody told me early on that she was somehow aligned with Hillary Clinton,” Trump insisted to Kaplan. “She was either aligned with her or — I thought aligned with her.”
Asked for the identity of that “somebody,” Trump claimed he didn’t remember. These sorts of revelations from Trump would help confirm, of course, that he wasn’t speaking from a place of substance when making past accusations against Carroll. He was rhetorically slinging mud, no matter whether he even did basic research into Carroll’s background before speaking. At another choice moment in the deposition, Trump confirmed he discussed the issue with Ivanka Trump despite Habba cutting in and claiming his answer to the question to be privileged, saying she didn’t want Donald to answer. “It’s a big, fat hoax,” Trump added of the present case, saying Carroll is “a liar and she’s a sick person in my opinion. Really sick. Something wrong with her.”