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Former U.S. President Donald Trump's top strategist Steve Bannon turns himself in

Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

The deposition video of former President Donald Trump was released, showing him repeatedly invoking the Fifth Amendment before New York Attorney General Letitia James – an action he previously belittled as something for “the mob”.

The video, released on Tuesday (January 31st) by CBS News, is from his appearance before New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office last August. James is heard introducing herself at the outset of the video before Trump delivers a rambling opening statement lasting seven minutes. “Anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool – an absolute fool,” he began.

Trump continued: “I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’” – a reference to his infamous 2016 presidential campaign speech where he bashed attorneys for opponent Hilary Clinton. “Now I know the answer to that question. 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 even the fake news media, you really have no choice.” He’d go on to trash the attorney general repeatedly as well.

Afterward, he stated: “Under the advice of my counsel and for all of the above reasons, I respectfully decline to answer the questions under the rights afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.” Kevin Wallace, the senior enforcement counsel in James’ office asked if that included the Fifth Amendment. “Yes,” Trump answered.

Trump would go on to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights more than 400 times during the four hours of questioning in the deposition. Journalist Shawn Peirce highlighted a montage created by BBC News which compiled the multiple times that the former president invoked the Fifth Amendment.

The release of the video adds more trouble to Trump’s plate. It coincided with attorneys for James’ office requesting the judge overseeing the $250 million lawsuit filed against Trump, his children, and his business for committing “staggering” financial fraud last September to place sanctions on them for making frivolous arguments in their written responses to the suit.