Biographer Timothy O’Brien knows exactly what booted FBI Director James Comey is going through. Like Comey, O’Brien was accused of lying by Donald Trump — and Trump threatened to reveal tapes of the conversations. But the litigious real estate developer eventually admitted in a deposition that he was the one who had misrepresented the truth 30 times — and acknowledged that he had no tapes.
Trump sued O’Brien in 2005 for $5 billion over his book TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald. But Trump lost the case, and ended up admitting to a litany of lies at his 2007 deposition.
Trump has often said over the year to reporters, “I just want to let you know I’m taping you right now,’” O’Brien, formerly of HuffPost and now executive editor at Bloomberg View, said Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” He also “said it multiple times during my interviews with him.”
When Trump finally admitted there were no tapes, O’Brien said his attorney asked him why he had lied. “He essentially said: ‘I wanted to intimidate him,’” O’Brien recalled.
“His loose association or relationship with the truth becomes problematic for him when he’s confronted with documents that are contrary to things that he’s said ... on a wide range of issues,” O’Brien said. The deposition revealed Trump had misrepresented how much money he got for speaking fees, how briskly his condos were selling, how much money he borrowed from the family estate when he was in financial trouble, and several other points, said O’Brien.
The Washington Post examined Trump’s responses in the deposition in a detailed story last year, listing every one of his lies and highlighting some particularly interesting statements. Trump was asked at one point: “Have you ever not been truthful” about your net worth? “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try,” he responded.
The lawyer attempted to clarify: “You said that your net worth goes up and down based upon your own feelings?”
“Yes, even my own feelings, as to where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day,” Trump answered.
At another point Trump said he estimates the value of his golf properties based on “mental projections,” O’Brien recalled.
“We’ve had decades now of Trump frequently lying or exaggerating about a wide range of things,” O’Brien said. “If he can’t be straight with the American people about just bare-bones, verifiable facts, we’re in a very difficult place.”
As for Trump saying last week that he is “100 percent” willing to testify under oath to Special Counsel Robert Mueller about his conversations with Comey, O’Brien said, “I have to imagine every lawyer in the White House’s eyes rolled back in their skull.”
Check out the rest of the segment below.