Trump claims to have averted 'nuclear holocaust' by talking to North Korea

Former president defends business dealings in seven-hour interview with state's attorney general

Former US president Donald Trump with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in 2018. AP
Powered by automated translation

Former US president Donald Trump said he avoided entering a nuclear war as he defended his business dealings during a seven-hour deposition with the New York attorney general's office.

During the April interview, New York Attorney General Letitia James's office accused Mr Trump of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars from 2011 to 2021.

Prosecutors said Mr Trump and a number of his associates overvalued numbers “to secure and maintain loans and insurance on more favourable terms”, which resulted in “hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten savings and profits”, the documents state.

Mr Trump was dismissive of the allegations because he was too busy serving as president, which he said was “the most important job in the world, saving millions of lives”.

He then went on to claim that he prevented a nuclear war.

“I think you would have [had a] nuclear holocaust, if I didn't deal with North Korea,” he said in the unsealed transcript.

“I think you would have a nuclear war, if I weren't elected. And I think you might have a nuclear war now, if you want to know the truth.”

The deposition was part of a lawsuit that accuses Mr Trump of lying about his property values and his net worth to obtain favourable terms on loans and insurance. Ms James's office is seeking at least $250 million from Mr Trump, his sons Eric and Donald Jr and the Trump Organisation.

The former president also said his son Eric “is much more involved” in ultimate decision-making for the Trump Organisation.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and attacked the case.

“The banks are shocked by this case. That's my opinion, because they've never had anything like this,” he said in the deposition.

“Do you know the banks were fully paid? Do you know the banks made a lot of money? Do you know I don’t believe I ever got even a default notice, and even during Covid, the banks were all paid? And yet you’re suing on behalf of banks, I guess.

“It’s crazy. The whole case is crazy.”

Mr Trump has also routinely attacked Ms James on social media.

In a court filing, she said evidence showed “repeated and persistent fraudulent use” by Mr Trump and his business of false financial statements from 2011 to 2021. She also asked a judge to declare that Mr Trump committed fraud before the October 2 trial date.

Lawyers for Mr Trump called to dismiss the case, which they said is a “crusade against president Trump”.

Ms James's civil case against Mr Trump is separate from the four criminal cases he faces in New York, Miami, Washington and Georgia.

Updated: August 31, 2023, 1:25 PM