Another Mess Pence Can’t Clean Up: Trump’s Tax Dodges

Mike Pence is complaining about “higher taxes” on the wealthy few. Would he have Donald Trump pay less than for the $0 that he likely paid for nearly two decades? We now know that Trump lost one billion dollars in a single year, and may have gone nearly two decades without paying any taxes at all (a move he’d call “smart”). With that information already public, Trump’s continued refusal to release his full tax returns begs the question – what information in the remaining returns is so bad that he’s still set on hiding it?

One thing is clear – voters aren’t taking well to Trump’s refusal to release his returns. A new CNN poll shows that 8-in-10 Trump supporters believe that paying taxes is a “civic duty.” Trump won’t have an easy time explaining this one to his supporters, and until he releases his full tax returns, this is one Trump-sized mess that Mike Pence won’t be able to clean up.

Background:

On The Campaign Trail, Trump Repeatedly Promised To Release His Tax Returns

Trump Said He Would Release His Tax Returns “At Some Point.”

Trump Said He Would Release His Tax Returns “At Some Point, Probably.” According to The New York Times, “‘When do we get tax returns, Donald Trump, because Mitt Romney got killed on this four years ago,’ Mr. Hewitt said in an interview with Mr. Trump, according to a transcript provided by his aides. ‘‘And you’ve got to get them out there as well.’ ‘Well, we’ll get them out at some point, probably,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘I mean, I’m looking at it. I told my people the other day, start looking at it.’ Mr. Hewitt pressed on, ‘Will we get them soon, do you think?’ ‘I don’t know,’ Mr. Trump replied. ‘I have to ask my accounting people. But we’ll be working on it. Everything is very much, you know, I gave my financials ahead of schedule, much ahead of schedule. I had a long time to give them, and I gave them immediately. And they were very complex, also, and very big, and they turned out to be extremely good, much better, actually, than people thought.’” [New York Times, 2/22/16]

[Video] Trump 2015 On His Tax Rate:  “I’m Not Going To Say, But At Some Point, I’ll Release It.”  Donald  Trump: But you know what, and I’m very honest on my tax returns. George Stephanopoulos: What is your tax rate? Trump: I’m not going to say, but at some point, I’ll release it. But I pay as little as possible. I’m very proud to tell you.”  [“This Week,” ABC, 10/4/15]

[Video] Trump 2015:  “We’ll See What I Am Going To Do With Tax Returns.  I Have No Major Problem With It, But I May Tie Them To A Release Of Hillary’s E-Mails.”  Donald Trump “Well, I may tie it to a release of Hillary’s e-mails. I may very well do that. Now, I have a very big company. They all said I wouldn’t release my financials, and then I released them, and they were far bigger than anybody thought. They said I wouldn’t release them because his company may be or his success may be — isn’t as big. Well, it turned out that it is far bigger. And I released them. And we will see what I am going to do with tax returns. I have no major problem with it, but I may tie them to a release of Hillary’s e- mails.”  [“Face the Nation,” CBS, 8/2/15, 150802_MM_86622_A.mp4]

[Video] Trump 2015:  “I Have No Problem With Giving My Tax Returns.”  Donald Trump:  I want to tell you right now I have no problem with giving my tax returns but I would tell you upfront a stupid person, a really stupid person is paying a lot of taxes. If you are in business — again I’m in business for myself and for my family. I want to take care of my kids. I give a lot of money to charity. And I am proud of the fact as a businessman I want to pay as little tax as possible.”  [“Special Report,” Fox News, 4/10/15, 150410_MM_86621_A.mp4]

[Video] 2014: Trump Claimed President Obama Was Not Properly Disclosing His Birth Certificate, And Then Promised That If “I Decide To Run For Office, I’ll Produce My Tax Returns, Absolutely.”  Colette Fitzpatrick: “You questioned his citizenship during his campaign, and you said afterwards that if you produce that long-form birth certificate, you’d produce your tax returns, but you didn’t do it, did you?’ Trump: ‘Well, I don’t know – did he do it? If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely. I would love to do that. I did produce a financial statement.” [TV3 Ireland Interview With Donald Trump, Published 5/20/14]

Prior To Running, Trump Said He Would Release “A Couple Of Years” His Tax Returns

[Video] Trump 2011:  “Maybe I’m Going To Do The Tax Returns When Obama Does His Birth Certificate.”  George Stephanopoulos:  Including your tax returns? Trump:   We’ll look at that. Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate.” [“Good Morning America,” ABC, 4/9/11]

[Video] When Asked How Many Tax Returns If He Would Put Out, Trump Said, “I Would Think A Couple Of Years Should Be Very Satisfactory I Really Do.”  Interview. Eric Bolling: “Donald, how many [years of tax returns] would you put out? If you were running for President, in the same shoes as Governor Romney, how many years would you put out? Trump: “I would think a couple of years should be very satisfactory, Eric, I really do. I would think a couple of years. You look at many of past president didn’t put out one or two years…”[Fox News’ Fox & Friends: 120716_MM_86704_A.mp4, 5/12/2012]

At February 2016 Debate, Trump Claimed He Would Not Or Could Not Release His Tax Returns Due To IRS Audit

Trump Falsely Claimed He “Can’t” Release His Tax Returns Due To An Audit

Trump, 2016: “I Want To Release My Tax Returns But I Can’t Release It While I’m Under An Audit.” According to a Washington Post transcript of the CNN-Telemundo Republican presidential debate, Trump said, “Look, let me just tell you something. Let me just tell you something. I want to release my tax returns but I can’t release it while I’m under an audit.” [The Washington Post, 2/25/16]

Trump, 2016: “I’m Being Audited Now For Two Or Three Years, So I Can’t Do It [Release Returns] Until The Audit Is Finished, Obviously.” According to CNN Money, “Donald Trump says he wants to release his tax returns but can’t because he is being audited by the IRS. ‘I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it [release returns] until the audit is finished, obviously. And I think people would understand that,’ Trump said during CNN’s Republican debate.” [CNN Money, 2/26/16]

By August 2016, At Six Years Of Tax Returns Were Not Under Audit, But Trump Refused To Release Even Those.

Trump’s Tax Returns Between 2002 – 2008 Were No Longer Under Audit, But Trump Refused To Release Those Returns. According to Washington Post, “According to Trump’s attorneys, his tax returns filed since 2009 are under audit but those from 2002 to 2008 are no longer under audit. Conway said Sunday in an interview on CNN that she does not want Trump to release those returns, either.” [Washington Post, 8/21/16]

Eric Trump Admitted The Campaign Feared Trump’s Tax Returns Would Be A “Distraction” If REleased During The Campaign

Trump’s Son Claimed That If His Father Released His Tax Returns, It Would Be A “Distraction” From His Main Message. According to CNN Politics, “Donald Trump’s son has a new reason why his father won’t release his tax returns: They’re too distracting. The new rationale is a shift from the Republican nominee’s previous explanation that an ongoing audit is the reason why he won’t release his taxes — breaking with decades of tradition. ‘Because he’s got a 12,000-page tax return that would create … financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from (his father’s) main message,’ Donald Trump, Jr. told the Tribune-Review in Pennsylvania in a piece published Wednesday.” [CNN Politics, 9/15/16]

Eric Trump Claimed It Would Be “Foolish” For His Father To Release His Taxes Returns. According to The Hill, “Last month, Eric Trump said it would be ‘foolish’ for his father to release the documents.” [Hill, 9/15/16]

But No Law, Rule Existed That Would Prevent Trump From Releasing His Tax Returns During An IRS Audit

The Hill Headline, 2016: “IRS: Nothing Prevents Trump From Releasing Tax Returns.” [Hill, 2/26/16]

NPR Fact Check: “No Law Exists Barring People From Releasing Their Tax Returns During An Audit.” According to NPR, “How does Trump’s explanation for refusing to release his returns hold up? NPR spoke with three tax experts, two of whom wanted to talk on background only. They included one former high-ranking government official. Their conclusion: No law exists barring people from releasing their tax returns during an audit.” [NPR, 2/26/16]