WASHINGTON: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s allies have said the billionaire is a “genius” if he paid no federal income taxes for 18 years.
According to the New York Times, it received some of Trump’s 1995 tax documents revealing $915 million losses that allowed him to legally avoid paying taxes, BBC reported.
The real estate mogul’s camp refused to confirm or deny the report, but said the filing was “illegally obtained”, while Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign called it a “bombshell”.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the New York Times article was a “very good story” because it showcased the “genius” of Trump and that it would only underline Trump as the best qualified to ease tax policy on working people.
According to BBC, there is no evidence at this point that Trump did anything improper.
Rudy Giuliani, a close adviser to Trump, said the Republican was an “absolute genius” if he avoided taxes.
“A lot of the people that are poor take advantage of loopholes and pay no taxes,” the former New York mayor said on Sunday. “Those are loopholes also.”
Trump himself played down the report on Sunday. “I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for President and am the only one who can fix them. [email protected],” he tweeted.
During the first presidential debate last Monday, Clinton attacked Trump for not releasing his tax returns, as all previous White House candidates have done since Jimmy Carter in 1976.
The Democrat suggested he was hiding “something terrible” and that he had perhaps not paid any federal income tax. He replied: “That makes me smart.”
The New York Times in its article said three pages of documents were anonymously sent last month to one of its reporters who had written about Trump’s finances.
A former accountant for the property tycoon, Jack Mitnick, whose name appears as Trump’s tax preparer of the filings, said the documents appeared to be authentic copies of portions of the 1995 returns, according to the newspaper.
Trump’s campaign did not directly address the authenticity of the excerpts, but the New York Times said his lawyer had emailed the newspaper arguing that publication of the records was illegal.
The Republican candidate’s camp accused the New York Times, which has endorsed the Democratic candidate for President, of being “an extension of the Clinton campaign”.
Trump, the campaign added, was a “highly skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required”.
“That being said, Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions.”
The Clinton camp said Trump embodied the “rigged system” of an unfair US tax code.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement: “This bombshell report reveals the colossal nature of Donald Trump’s past business failures and just how long he may have avoided paying any federal income taxes whatsoever.”
Clinton has already disclosed nearly 40 years of federal income tax returns, while Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, has made publicly available 10 years of his tax returns.
At a Saturday night rally, Trump appeared to accuse Clinton of marital infidelity.
“Hillary Clinton’s only loyalty is to her financial contributors and to herself,” he told thousands gathered in Manheim, Pennsylvania.
“I don’t think she’s even loyal to Bill if you want to know the truth. Why should she be, right?”
Meanwhile, Alec Baldwin has debuted his impression of Trump on Saturday Night Live, parodying the candidate’s pronunciation of China, among other things.
Sporting a blonde wig and a lip-puckering scowl, the actor appeared on the comedy show alongside SNL regular Kate McKinnon as Clinton, using a walking cane.