August 10, 2022

Trump was supposed to answer questions in a deposition with the New York state attorney general’s office today. Letitia James, the state attorney general, is investigating whether Trump and his company have improperly inflated the value of his properties. As The New York Times reports, it’s a civil investigation that could lead to criminal charges. But the guy who once called it "disgraceful" to take the Fifth Amendment just did exactly that.

More from the Times:

Mr. Trump had not been expected to invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination. He has long considered himself his best spokesman, and those who had questioned him in the past, as well as some of his own advisers, believed he was unlikely to stay quiet.

His decision could have a significant impact on any trial if Ms. James’s investigation leads to a lawsuit. Jurors in civil matters can draw a negative inference when a defendant invokes his or her Fifth Amendment privilege, unlike in criminal cases, where exercising the right against self-incrimination cannot be held against the defendant.

Good legal strategy or not, it’s almost hilariously ironic for Trump to be taking the Fifth when he has so long railed against it as proof of guilt.

Of course, he thinks it’s totally different when he does it. "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," he said in a statement justifying his about-face.

But we will not forget his original sentiments, expressed over and over. Unfortunately for him, there are video receipts, too.

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