Former President Donald Trump claimed he saved the planet from a "nuclear holocaust," bragged about his finances and said he became president "because of the brand" in a newly released video of his deposition in New York Attorney General Letitia James' fraud suit against him and his company.
"I was very busy ... I considered this the most important job in the world, saving millions of lives. I think you would have nuclear holocaust if I didn't deal with North Korea. I think you would have a nuclear war if I weren't elected. And I think you might have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth," Trump said during the April 13, 2023, deposition after he was asked if he was too busy to run his company while he was in the White House.
Early on in his presidency, Trump had promised to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if North Korea continued to threaten the United States. He later became the first sitting president to travel to the country, where he met with dictator Kim Jong Un for nuclear talks that later fell apart.
The full 479-page written transcript of the deposition was released last year, but excerpts of the video of his questioning were made public Friday by the AG's office. James has accused Trump and the Trump Organization of falsely inflating their assets to get bank loans at rates he otherwise would not have been entitled to. Trump maintains the financial documents the AG said were enormously inflated were actually conservative.
"We didn't include billions of dollars in brand value," Trump said in the deposition. The financial statements explicitly say they don't include brand value, but the AG's office said he did include it for some of the properties listed in it.
"If I wanted to show you a good statement, I would have added maybe $10 billion or something for the brand," Trump said. "I mean I became president because of the brand, OK. I became president. I think it's the hottest brand in the world."
Trump also argued the financial statements were essentially worthless because the banks already knew him — the same argument he made when he testified at trial in November.
Closing arguments in the trial were held on Jan. 11, and Judge Arthur Engoron is expected to issue his verdict in the coming weeks. James is seeking a judgment of $370 million, which her office says is the amount of Trump's ill-gotten gains through the scheme.