The biggest crisis yet: Trump campaign reels after tax documents published

The biggest crisis yet: Trump campaign reels after tax documents published

Republican threatens lawsuit as leaked returns fuel questions over business acumen and suggest he may have been able to avoid income tax for years

Donald Trump was reeling from the biggest crisis of his campaign on Sunday, after the publication of documents suggesting the wealthy Republican nominee may have been able to escape paying income tax for nearly two decades.

In a direct challenge to his claim to be a successful businessman and a champion of Americas hard-working middle class, the anonymously leaked tax returns reveal how Trump used aggressive accounting tactics and the failure of several businesses to claim a loss of $916m in his 1995 personal filing.

Independent experts say under US rules, this could be large enough to legally shelter hundreds of millions in income from years of federal tax despite Trumps high-rolling lifestyle and criticism of others for avoiding tax.

Trump did not deny the damning conclusions drawn by the New York Times, which first received the filing in a manila envelope said to have been sent from inside Trump Tower. But he threatened to sue the newspaper for what he insisted was illegally obtained material.

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The only news here is that the more than 20-year-old alleged tax document was illegally obtained, the campaign said in a statement, a further demonstration that the New York Times, like establishment media in general, is an extension of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic party and their global special interests.

The editor of the New York Times recently said he was prepared to risk prison to publish Trumps hitherto secret tax returns. The Times pointed out in its report that the documents it had obtained did not suggest Trump had done anything illegal.

The veracity of the document was also confirmed by Trumps former accountant, Jack Mitnick, who told the paper he had to manually input the figure in question because tax preparation software did not allow for nine-digit losses.

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Instead, the Trump campaign embarked on a damage control exercise on Sunday, dispatching surrogates to television talk shows to argue that Trump was clever to exploit the painful collapse of his past business ventures, several of which defaulted on creditors by declaring bankruptcy.

The reality is hes a genius, former New York mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Rudy Giuliani told NBC. He did something we admire in America: he came back. New Jersey governor Chris Christie also told Fox News Sunday the story was very good for the candidate as it showed the genius of Donald Trump.

The argument is consistent with an explanation given by the candidate himself, who claimed he was being smart when pressed by his rival, Hillary Clinton, on tax avoidance during their first presidential debate.

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In 2012, Trump berated people who dont pay tax payers, writing: Half of Americans dont pay income tax despite crippling govt debt.

Yet the scale of the 1995 loss appears to confirm suggestions made by Democrats that Trump has refused to follow 40 years of tradition and publish his tax returns because they would show he didnt pay any.

Trump is a billion-dollar loser who wont release his taxes because theyll expose him as a spoiled, rich brat who lost the millions he inherited from his father, Democratic Senate minority leader Harry Reid said on Sunday.

Despite losing a billion dollars, Trump wants to reward himself with more tax breaks on inherited wealth while stiffing middle-class families who earn their paychecks with hard work.

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