As part of the ruling that could strip the former president of his ability for the Trump Organization to do business, a judge revealed some surprising comments Donald Trump made about Saudi Arabia.
What did Donald Trump Say Now?
Earlier this week, a New York judge ruled that former President Donald Trump had inflated the value of various properties in his portfolio, and that of the Trump Organization, to a fraudulent degree, and that he had deceived banks, insurance companies, and others. As a result, Trump will lose several of his business licenses.
The ruling came not from any of Trump’s ongoing criminal cases, but rather from the civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Trump plans to appeal the ruling, and other parts of the case are set to go to trial next week.
But there was another aspect of the ruling that drew a great deal of attention: The judge’s reference to something Trump said in a recent deposition, about Saudi Arabia, and how he could sell some of his properties, theoretically, to people from that country.
New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron wrote that in his ruling, per the Washington Post.
“He also seems to imply that the numbers cannot be inflated because he could find a ‘buyer from Saudi Arabia’ to pay any price he suggests,” the judge wrote. “This statement may suggest influence buying more than savvy investing.”
Trump had referenced his ability to sell properties to Saudi Arabia on multiple occasions.
“I just felt when I saw that, I thought it was high,” Donald Trump said in the deposition. “But I could see it — as a whole, I could see it if this were sold to one buyer from Saudi Arabia.” He said the same thing about possibly selling one of his golf courses to LIV Golf, the golf tour backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. LIV Golf has hosted golf events at Trump’s clubs, with the former president in attendance.
Saudi Arabia, of course, is a country that Trump dealt with as president and would deal with again should he return to the presidency. While president, it was Trump’s first foreign visit, in 2017, where Trump famously touched a golden orb. Donald Trump seemed to become closer to the Saudis as his presidency went on, despite the 2018 assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post and lived in the United States. A U.S. intelligence report in 2021 concluded that the killing had been approved by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.
At the same time, the former president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who had the Middle East as part of his portfolio as a Trump adviser during his presidency, has done billions of dollars in business deals with the Saudis since the Trump Administration left office- considerably more money, in fact, than Hunter Biden ever received from foreign business entities, over which Congressional Republicans are currently trying to impeach President Biden.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), in a hearing this week, asked why Republicans are investigating Hunter Biden when Jared Kushner received even more foreign money for “something he’s not equipped to do, which is investment banking,” than Hunter Biden ever got.
Also this week, per The Hill, the Crown Prince suggested that the $2 billion investment the Saudi Public Investment Fund made in Jared Kushner’s private equity fund would not be affected, should Trump return to the White House. Jared Kushner is not expected to return to advising Trump, but it would still create the appearance of conflict if a foreign entity had invested billions of dollars with a close relative of the president.
“It’s a commitment that the PIF [has], and the PIF [has] commitment[s] with any investor around the globe to keep it,” the Crown Prince, who is Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, said in a Fox News interview.
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
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