Donald Trump is exercising his right to remain silent before the New York Attorney General, who is investigating him for tax fraud

Donald Trump is exercising his right to remain silent before the New York Attorney General, who is investigating him for tax fraud

Journalists expect Donald Trump to leave the New York Attorney's Office this Wednesday.Journalists expect Donald Trump’s departure from the New York Attorney’s Office this Wednesday JASON SZENES (EFE)

Two days after the FBI raided his Florida residence looking for official documents, former President Donald Trump Wednesday witnessed a moment he had avoided for months: testifying under oath before New York Attorney General Letitia James, the turning point in an investigation launched in 2019 over alleged irregularities in its stores. The expectation created by the performance was dashed when he declined to testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, which his two oldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, who were also being investigated, did their survey did not last days. “I have refused to answer the questions protected by the rights and privileges afforded to all citizens by the United States Constitution,” Trump said in a statement. The interrogation, which was supposed to last for hours, was settled by the Fifth Amendment guarantee.

“I once asked myself, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you accepting the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question. When your family, your business and your entire circle becomes the target of a baseless, politically motivated witch hunt backed by lawyers, prosecutors and the media spreading fake news, you have no choice,” Trump said in the lengthy statement. “If you had any doubts about that, the FBI’s raid on my home, Mar-a-Lago, on Monday, just two days prior to this statement, has removed all uncertainty. I have absolutely no choice because the current administration and many prosecutors in this country have abandoned all moral and ethical boundaries of decency.”

The tycoon confirmed the appearance on his social network Truth Social late Tuesday: “Tonight in New York. Seeing the racist New York State Attorney General tomorrow in the sequel to the largest witch hunt in US history,” he wrote of what he believes to be a harassment operation by Democrat James, who is African American, to further his political career. (In fact, James briefly ran for governor of New York, which he later resigned.) “My great company and myself are under attack from all sides. Banana Republic!”. While the Republican was invoking his right to remain silent, his office released a lengthy statement in which Trump lashed out at James and the US government, as well as three video montages in which the prosecutor declared, among other things: “I will never be that Afraid to challenge this illegitimate president.”

The tycoon was captured by photographers leaving his residence in Trump Tower, next to Central Park, aboard an armored vehicle with tinted windows. Surrounded by extreme security and wailing sirens, the former president’s caravan drove south from Manhattan to the DA’s office, arriving at 9 a.m. Secret Service agents shielded access to the prosecutor’s office and the family business’s headquarters, backed by an unprecedented police operation. The statement was expected to take all day, maybe even longer, but the former president’s refusal to respond dampened all expectations and put the ball back in the prosecutors’ wing.

“I didn’t do anything wrong, which is why the federal, state and local authorities asked together with the fake news media after a five-year search [noticias falsas]They didn’t find anything,” the former president said in his statement.

Trump had bided his time over those months, repeatedly postponing the statement and even benefiting from the death of his ex-wife Ivana the same week as his previous subpoena in late July, forcing a stay. But James’ office warned in May that the civil inquiry into the alleged make-up of the Trump Organization’s fortune was drawing to a close. No indictment can be derived from the trial James led (only sanctions, since it is a civil trial), but it could reactivate the ailing criminal investigation that the Manhattan DA’s office also conducted in 2019 for the same reason: reasonable suspicion of which the Trump Organization has misrepresented the value of properties such as golf courses and skyscrapers, misleading lenders and the IRS.

Subscribe to EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.

Subscribe to

In addition to the alleged reactivation of criminal proceedings opened by the Manhattan Attorney’s Office, which could include allegations of felonies, Trump’s appearance before James could not be more incongruous amid a broad legal offensive as the FBI’s investigation continues into the classified documents Trump made out from the White House, they are joining the open cause in Georgia for trying to reverse the outcome of the November 2020 election and remove responsibility for his involvement in a horde attack on the Capitol of his supporters in the January 2021. Trump faces other minor lawsuits, like a golf course tax redesign in upstate New York, but what happens at his meeting with District Attorney James could cloud his political expectations, especially as he estimates his candidacy for re-election in 2024 an appeals court at the umpteenth legal A setback he has suffered in recent days has given the go-ahead to a House committee to look at the tycoon’s income tax returns, despite a 19-month struggle from his lawyers.

Trump has always treated the James case, as well as that of the Manhattan District Attorney, as a political harassment operation. Regarding James, he claims that he so viciously pursues him in order to further his political career, and indeed the prosecutor put forward his candidacy for governor of New York following the fall of Andrew Cuomo, although he withdrew it shortly thereafter. Republicans, immersed in the primary trial leading up to the mid-term elections, have aligned themselves with him and assume the political motivation Trump denounces in all open trials against him

Follow all international information on Facebook and Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.