Even under oath, Trump struggled with the truth

From The Washington Post:

The lawyer gave Donald Trump a note, written in Trump’s own handwriting. He asked Trump to read it aloud.

Trump may not have realized it yet, but he had walked into a trap.

“Peter, you’re a real loser,” Trump began reading.

The mogul had sent the note to a reporter, objecting to a story that said Trump owned a “small minority stake” in a Manhattan real estate project. Trump insisted that the word “small” was incorrect. Trump continued reading: “I wrote, ‘Is 50 percent small?’ ”

“This [note] was intended to indicate that you had a 50 percent stake in the project, correct?” said the lawyer.

“That’s correct,” Trump said.

For the first of many times that day, Trump was about to be caught saying something that wasn’t true.

“I own 30 percent,” Trump admitted.

It was a mid-December morning in 2007 — the start of an interrogation unlike anything else in the public record of Trump’s life.

Trump had brought it on himself. He had sued a reporter, accusing him of being reckless and dishonest in a book that raised questions about Trump’s net worth. The reporter’s attorneys turned the tables and brought Trump in for a deposition.

For two straight days, they asked Trump question after question that touched on the same theme: Trump’s honesty.

The lawyers confronted the mogul with his past statements — and with his company’s internal documents, which often showed those statements had been incorrect or invented. The lawyers were relentless. Trump, the bigger-than-life mogul, was vulnerable — cornered, out-prepared and under oath.

Thirty times, they caught him.

Trump had misstated sales at his condo buildings. Inflated the price of membership at one of his golf clubs. Overstated the depth of his past debts and the number of his employees.

That deposition — 170 transcribed pages …

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