Trump Rages About ‘Hoaxes’ and ‘Scum’ in Unsealed Deposition

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s sworn testimony in a defamation suit by a New York author who accuses him of rape was partially unsealed, revealing the former president’s rage about the case and many other alleged “hoaxes.”

Most Read from Bloomberg

Trump, who was deposed Oct. 19 by former Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s lawyers, called his accuser a “wack job” and threatened to sue her and her attorney, according to a partial transcript made public Friday by a federal judge in Manhattan.

“This ridiculous situation that we’re doing right now. It’s a big, fat hoax,” Trump, 76, said during the deposition at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “She’s a liar and she’s a sick person in my opinion.”

The partial unsealing of the deposition is a rare look at Trump’s demeanor under oath. It comes as the former president faces an array of legal challenges, from New York state’s $250 million fraud suit against him and his company, to the ongoing federal criminal probe into his handling of White House documents. Trump has denied wrongdoing in all the matters.

Under questioning by Carroll’s attorney Roberta Kaplan, Trump agreed during the deposition that he uses the word “hoax” often, possibly more than 250 times in 2020 alone. Asked what other hoaxes had been cooked up to undermine him, Trump pointed to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether his allies were involved in Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 election, as well as the Ukraine scandal that led to his first impeachment.

“The Russia Russia Russia hoax,” Trump replied. “It’s been proven to be a hoax. Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine hoax. The Mueller situation for two and a half years hoax ended in no collusion. It was a whole big hoax.”

He blamed the many alleged hoaxes on “the scum we have in our country.”

Asked if he believes climate change is a hoax, too, Trump said it’s “largely a hoax.” He was also asked if he thought mail-in ballots are a hoax, according to the filing.

“Yeah, I sure do,” he said, though he also said he votes by mail.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Carroll went public in 2019 with her claim that Trump raped her in the 1990s in a dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store. Trump, then president, publicly accused her of fabricating the attack to sell a book. Carroll responded by filing a defamation suit, which is set to go to trial in April if an ongoing appeal by the former president fails.

During the deposition, Trump called Carroll’s publisher, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., “radical” and “left-leaning.”

Kaplan pointed out Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s book was also published by HarperCollins.

“Could be, but they published some very bad ones too,” Trump responded.

Kaplan asked Trump if he’d ever kissed a woman without her consent — something Carroll says happened at the start of the alleged sexual assault.

“Well, I don’t — I can’t think of any complaints,” Trump said. “But no. I mean, I don’t think so.”

The former president was then asked if he’d ever touched a woman on her breasts or buttocks without permission.

“Well, I will tell you no, but you may have some people like your client that lie,” Trump said.

“Do you know what the term ‘sexual harassment’ means?” Kaplan asked Trump.

“Yeah, pretty much,” he said, before the transcript excerpt cuts off.

One of Trump’s more infamous scandals involved a hot mic incident that came to light during the 2016 presidential campaign, when the then-candidate told “Access Hollywood” TV host Billy Bush about kissing and groping women without consent, adultery and other crude, sexually aggressive comments.

During the questioning, Trump vigorously and repeatedly denied ever attacking Carroll and reiterated his claim that he’d never met her and didn’t know who she was. He also repeated that Carroll wasn’t his “type.”

“When I say she’s not my type, I say she is not a woman I would ever be attracted to,” Trump said. “There is no reason for me to be attracted to her. I just — it’s not even meant to be an insult.”

Trump repeatedly got aggravated with Kaplan during the testimony, at one point calling her a “political operative” and a “disgrace” before saying he’d be taking her and Carroll to court.

“I will be suing you also, but I’ll be suing her very strongly as soon as this case ends,” Trump said. “But I’ll be suing you also.”

“Are you done?” Kaplan asked.

“Yeah,” the former president responded.

(Updates with comment on publisher in 11th paragraph. An earlier version of the story corrected date of deposition.)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.