On Thursday, February 17, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that former President Donald Trump and two of his children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., must sit for depositions in State Attorney General Letitia James' civil investigation of the Trump Organization's financial activities. New York Times reporter David Fahrenthold and former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade weighed in on Engoron's ruling during an appearance on MSNBC's "Deadline: White House" that day.
Fahrenthold stressed to host Nicolle Wallace, a Never Trump conservative who served as White House communications director under President George W. Bush, that Donald Trump's efforts to stonewall James' investigation aren't working.
"He's tried to avoid this and delay this and probably will try to delay it some more," Fahrenthold explained. "But I think he's sort of running out of time. He's running out of the tricks that he used in the past."
Fahrenthold added, "He's already tried suing Letitia James to get her off the case. He's tried challenging — all these different things. But enough time has passed that he's running out of options."
Engoron's ruling came only three days after the Trump Organization's long-time accounting firm, Mazars USA, announced that it would be dropping Donald Trump's company as a client — a decision made in response to James' civil investigation of the company's financial history.
McQuade, during her "Deadline: White House" appearance, offered some reasons why Donald Trump is hoping to avoid having to sit for a deposition with James' office. Lying to the media, the former federal prosecutor pointed out, is not a crime; lying under oath during a deposition is.
McQuade told Wallace and Fahrenthold, "I think one of the reasons he has fought so hard to avoid this deposition is (that) this is where truth matters. He can't lie his way out of it. He can't exaggerate his way out of it. The only thing he can really do is assert a privilege…. like the 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination."
According to McQuade, Donald Trump "finds himself in a very difficult spot because if he lies now, it does matter."