Donald Trump Gave Conflicting Answers About Trump University Hiring

Trump offered different answers about how involved he was with Trump U.

ByABC News
June 2, 2016, 4:12 PM

— -- In a 2013 interview with ABC News and a deposition last December, Donald Trump offered very different answers about how involved he was with hiring at his now-closed Trump University.

The seminar program is the subject of three pending legal cases in California and New York accusing Trump University of being a sham.

During the 2013 interview, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos asked Trump if he "handpicked the instructors" for the seminar program.

"I looked at every resume. I met with some people," he said. "I didn't meet with everybody. It's not my main business. I did this to help people."

But as first reported by Yahoo News' Michael Isakoff, during a December 2015 deposition for one of the pending cases, Trump changed his tune.

"I don't know the people. I wasn't running it. I don't know the people," Trump responded when asked who the Trump University instructors were and whether they were qualified. "I don't know that because I was not running it. I don't know who the people are."

Later in that deposition, he was asked, "You didn't personally select these instructors, correct?" Trump responded, "No." Asked again by counsel, "That's correct?" He responded, "That is correct."

In another deposition, January of this year, Trump gave another answer regarding the hiring. "I see resumes, but mostly that was up to Michael Sexton, who was the president who ran Trump University."

ABC News sent the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization a list of questions on Wednesday asking again about the hiring of those instructors and the level of Trump's involvement.

"The court's order unsealing documents has no bearing on the merits of Trump University's case. Much of the unsealed evidence, including declarations and surveys from former Trump University students, demonstrates the high level of satisfaction from students and that Trump University taught valuable real estate information. Trump University's sales tactics are commonplace – no different than other companies in the industry. Trump University looks forward to using this evidence, along with much more, to win when the case is brought before a jury," the Trump Organization told ABC in a statement Wednesday.

On "Good Morning America" Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading one of the pending cases against Trump University, called it "a fraud from beginning to end."

"We have laws against running an illegal, unlicensed university. This never was a university. The fraud started with the name of the organization," he said.

Those discrepancies in Trump's accounts aren't the only ones. His comments in the public arena, on several occasions, differ from what he said under oath.

In interviews and statements, Trump has boasted that he has "one of the all-time great memories." He told The Hollywood Reporter just last week, "I have one of the great memories of all time."

In a promotional video for Trump University, Trump said of the program's instructors, "We are going to have the best of the best ... and these people that are handpicked by me."

However, during the December deposition, he repeatedly said he could not remember details about hiring decisions. When asked if he could remember a single instructor, Trump responded, "You'd have to give me a list. You'd have to show me the list. I actually went — I would go and just walk in and just stand in the back of the room on occasion just to see how they were doing. But it's been so many years, I wouldn't be able to do that."

When given the name Johnny Harris and asked if the person was a student, an instructor or neither, Trump responded, "Too many years." Given three other names, he said, "It sounds very familiar. Names — the names sound familiar. Just too many years."

A point on which he has been consistent: that he never wanted to settle the case.

"I actually thought that people were very happy at the school. I was very surprised. That's why I didn't settle this case, which I could have settled very easily a long time ago," he said during the deposition.

And in the 2013 interview with Stephanopoulos, Trump said, "I could have settled this very easily with them. They wanted to settle it. I didn't want ... no, I don't want to settle this at all."

However, Schneiderman, speaking on MSNBC Thursday morning, disputed that Trump's legal team never offered to settle.

"He did offer to settle," Schneiderman said. "He settles cases all the time."

ABC News' Chris Donovan contributed to this report.