The long-running fraud investigation into former Republican President Donald Trump and his company took a new turn Thursday when a judge in the Manhattan Supreme Court denied Trump's motion to evade subpoenas relevant to the investigation.
Now, not only Trump himself but also his right- and left-hand people, daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr., will be required to testify under oath in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ sprawling investigation.
And as usual, Trump is taking it about as well as you'd imagine. In a lengthy statement issued by Liz Harrington, the spokesperson he hired in order to circumvent his lifelong Twitter ban, Trump melted down over the decision and somehow managed to make it about his biggest obsession: Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Read his statement below.
NEW!\n\nPresident Donald J. Trump:\n\n\u201cSo, Crooked Hillary Clinton, one of the most corrupt politicians ever to run for President, can break into the White House, my apartment, buildings I own, and my campaign\u2014in other words, she can spy on a Presidential candidate and ultimately...pic.twitter.com/L0gP8aeDUF— Liz Harrington (@Liz Harrington) 1645143568
In his statement, Trump dramatically called AG James' investigation unconstitutional and claimed it was motivated by her and "Radical Left Democrats'" personal hatred of him.
“THERE IS NO CASE!... It is a continuation of the greatest witch-hunt in history and remember, I can’t get a fair hearing in New York because of the hatred of me by judges and the judiciary. It is not possible”
Trump's lawyers argued that in addition to AG James' supposed hatred of Trump, he and his family should also not be compelled to comply with her civil case because the depositions will almost certainly be used against him in an ongoing parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron wasn't having any of it.
In a blistering 8-page ruling, Justice Engoran states it would have been a "blatant dereliction of duty" NOT to subpoena them.pic.twitter.com/2HXRcWrpll— Adam Klasfeld (@Adam Klasfeld) 1645128999
In his eight-page ruling, Engoron dismissed the notion that AG James' case was in any way discriminatory, and said given the "copious evidence of possible financial fraud" it would have been "a blatant dereliction of duty" for her not to have subpoenaed Trump and his two eldest children. The ruling requires Donald, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. to be deposed within 21 days.
Trump is all but certain to appeal Engoron's ruling--a gambit legal experts say is likely to fail, too--because just as his lawyers argued would happen, he is in an untenable position.
Answering AG James' questions is likely to damage Trump's political aspirations and his and his children's answers will be used against him in his criminal case. If they plead the fifth instead, the plea will be used against Trump in James' civil case as an admission of guilt and hobble his lawyers' ability to mount a defense in his parallel criminal case.
On Twitter, Engoron's ruling was met with celebration and no shortage of schadenfreude.
This doesn't smell like fear at all.— \ud835\udc0c\ud835\udc1a\ud835\udc33\ud835\udc22 \ud835\udc02\ud835\udc21\ud835\udc22\ud835\udc1d\ud835\udc22 (@\ud835\udc0c\ud835\udc1a\ud835\udc33\ud835\udc22 \ud835\udc02\ud835\udc21\ud835\udc22\ud835\udc1d\ud835\udc22) 1645144270
If Trump takes the Fifth, it can be used against him in the civil case being developed by the New York Attorney General.\n\nIf Trump doesn\u2019t take the Fifth, the Manhattan DA can use his words against him.\n\nHe\u2019s between a rock and a hard place.https://twitter.com/jentaub/status/1494406063545892871\u00a0\u2026— Renato Mariotti (@Renato Mariotti) 1645129614
Hahahaha you're toast #justicehttps://twitter.com/newyorkstateag/status/1494404130001104899?s=21\u00a0\u2026— weareoneness (@weareoneness) 1645146479
Jimmy Kimmel on Trump being ordered to sit for a sworn deposition: \u201cThey\u2019re looking for a Bible tiny enough for him to put his hand on to swear him in\u201d.— Mike Sington (@Mike Sington) 1645183779
COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF FRAUD 2024https://twitter.com/KlasfeldReports/status/1494421501180882949?t=3I_UAlsY32nJxgZALc0rLw&s=19\u00a0\u2026— Mojo Ruckus (@Mojo Ruckus) 1645150854
Then no one would see it lol— Mel is not an earthen vessel (@Mel is not an earthen vessel) 1645145808
\u201c#Trump encounters an AG & a judge who believe former presidents aren\u2019t above the law. "To me, he's a citizen," the judge said. \nFor someone who has gotten away with misusing the legal system for his benefit for years, it\u2019s going to be a harsh awakening.\u201d @JoyceWhiteVance— Laura M (@Laura M) 1645153094
Was he crying when he wrote this? Somebody get him his soother and Blanky, someone needs some quiet time.— Darlene Tarantino (@Darlene Tarantino) 1645144593
This would be a good time to remember that the Former Guy said that pleading the fifth was for the mob.pic.twitter.com/VQoylS7oOq— Dr. Raul Hernandez (@Dr. Raul Hernandez) 1645202233
This saga is far from over, but whether or not they ever actually crush him, the walls are definitely closing in on Donald Trump.