During a Sunday evening press conference that began only a short time after the New York Times published the first in a series of reports examining almost two decades of President Donald Trump’s previously undisclosed taxes, the President waved off questions and called the report, “fake news.”
Specifically, Trump denied the claims in the article that he only “paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”
The article, splashed across the Times website with an all-caps headline, LONG-CONCEALED RECORDS SHOW TRUMP’S CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE, seems certain to dominate much of the mainstream media news coverage in the hours before the first debate between Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday night.
Additionally, the Times reports:
“His finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.”
“The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.”
Still, the Times admits there are many unanswered questions, no new connections to Russia, and that many readers will not be satisfied with its reporting, stating:
“The returns are some of the most sought-after, and speculated-about, records in recent memory. In Mr. Trump’s nearly four years in office — and across his endlessly hyped decades in the public eye — journalists, prosecutors, opposition politicians and conspiracists have, with limited success, sought to excavate the enigmas of his finances. By their very nature, the filings will leave many questions unanswered, many questioners unfulfilled. They comprise information that Mr. Trump has disclosed to the I.R.S., not the findings of an independent financial examination. They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his true wealth. Nor do they reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.”
Finally, it’s unclear how much of the voting public will care about the reporting on Trump’s taxes as polls indicate most voters have already decided who they will vote for in the November 3rd election.
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