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Donald Trump admitted in June 2016 to planning the controversial statements he made about Mexicans when he launched his campaign, according to a deposition released by a Washington, DC judge Friday.
Digital media site Buzzfeed, which filed a court motion last month to gain access to the deposition, published a two-part video and the transcript. The deposition is part of a lawsuit filed against the Republican candidate in October 2015 by DC restaurateurs who broke with Trump after he made denigrating comments about Mexicans.
Asked during the deposition if he planned his statement involving Mexicans in advance, Trump responded: "Yes."
When asked if he consulted with other people in advance about the statement, Trump said he did not.
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," Trump said in June 2015, when he kicked off his presidential run. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Trump was asked about his comments made toward Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Trump accused Curiel of bias in a case regarding Trump University because the judge is of Mexican descent.
"Mr. Trump, I just want to understand why you think your comments would cause a Latino or a person of Mexican heritage to potentially be biased against you," the attorney asks.
Trump didn’t respond directly about Judge Curiel, but instead suggested that Latinos like him, as evidenced by polls.
"I think in many cases they like me, because what I'm doing is for the people that are in the country legally," Trump said. "And I'm starting to see that in polls. If Hispanics are in the country legally, many of them are liking what I say, including people from Mexico and other places. If they're in the country legally, they're liking it."
The lawyer then asked, "Do you believe that many Latinos have misinterpreted your comments?"
"I don't know, I can't speak for other people,' he said. "I'm fighting to keep jobs out of Mexico. I'm fighting to have Mexico not take our businesses away from us. Mexico is taking our businesses like we're children. Our leadership is not smart. We're losing millions of jobs to Mexico. We're losing billions of dollars to Mexico."
"Do you think Judge Curiel would patronize a Trump property?" the lawyer asked.
"I don't know. You'd have to ask him," said Trump.
"Do you think that some Hispanic patrons would be less likely to patronize a restaurant in your hotel due to what you've described as misperception or mischaracterization of your comments?"
"I don't know. I think you'll get additional business, actually," Trump said. "Because it's a hot hotel and we're doing very well."
"I think we would have been better had we had your client," he added, referring to one of the restaurateurs who decided not to open a restaurant at Trump's hotel. "My running for office would have potentially helped him."
"Do you think Hispanic patrons would be less likely to patronize any restaurant in any of your hotels or properties?"
"I just don't know. There could be some people who come because of whatever it is, because of a candidate."