On Thursday evening, Washington, DC’s Judge Brian F. Holeman authorized the release of the video of Donald Trump‘s deposition testimony from June, which features the Republican presidential nominee being questioned on his comments about Mexican immigrants. This stems from a lawsuit that Trump filed against the companies of restauranteur Geoffrey Zakarian, who pulled out of a deal with Trump, citing concerns about driving away potential customers. While the video was not sealed by the court, it was not otherwise available through the clerk’s office, necessitating that various media companies intervene in the lawsuit.
In the deposition (at about 44:30 of part one), Trump disagreed with the idea that his comments could have hurt the restaurant’s prospects. “If he had the restaurant, it would be helped,” Trump said. “I’ve tapped into something. And I’ve tapped into illegal immigration.” He added that the now famous comments when he launched his campaign were just a continuation of an existing public stance, saying that “I’ve been saying these things for years. I’ve been very consistent. I’ve been saying them from before he signed the lease.”
Later. Trump had this exchange when being questioned by opposing counsel:
Q: Do you think that there are some Hispanic patrons who would be less likely to patronize any restaurant in any of your hotels or any of your properties?
A: It’s — it is always possible. I just don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how to answer that question. It’s possible. But, likewise, there could be some people that will come because of whatever it is. You know, because of a candidate.
Q: And why do you think, for example, the Palm Beach property is doing particularly well? I think you said earlier it’s —
A: Because I think people like politics.
A: Yeah. And they like to be around the name and maybe me. I go there, you know. But I think — I think people really dig it.
Moments later, when asked if he felt that the media distorted his comments about Mexicans, Trump said that “I think the media is very dishonest. I say it all the time. I think they’re among the most dishonest human beings I’ve ever met. No. But I say that all the time.” It’s also worth noting that at the beginning of the deposition, when asked if he did anything to prepare, Trump replied “I would say virtually nothing. I — I spoke with my counsel for a short period of time. I just arrived here, and we proceeded to the deposition.” When asked specifically if he had consulted any documents to refresh his memory, he said that he hadn’t.
The transcript, which was released in August along with other depositions in the case, is also available online.