Rudy Giuliani on Sunday defended Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE after a New York Times report showed the Republican presidential nominee may have avoided paying federal taxes for up to 18 years.
"The Times fails to point out that he has an obligation as the head of a business to take advantage of, and to use the lawful deductions," the former New York City mayor said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"This is rather common in large, gigantic American businesses."
The Times reported late Saturday that a $916 million loss on Trump’s 1995 income tax returns could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income tax for up to 18 years.
The Times obtained fragments of Trump’s 1995 tax records, not previously released, that show Trump reported a federal adjusted gross income loss of $915.7 million in the wake of financial struggles at three Atlantic City casinos, his airline business and purchase of Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel.
If the report is true, Giuliani, a Trump adviser, said, the fault would be on the American tax code.
"The reality is that most Americans take advantage of every deduction available to them," he said.
"If he didn't take advantage of those tax deductions ... he could have been sued, because his obligation as a businessman is to make money for his enterprise and to save money for his enterprise. It would be insane for him to not take advantage of that."
Giuliani said the media's subsequent overreaction to the report is a good indicator of why Trump hasn't released his tax returns.
"The way all of you are treating this is a very good indicator of why someone might not want to release their tax returns," he said.
"Because you take something that is perfectly legal, something that he had no choice but to utilize, and if he didn't utilize he would have been in a lot of trouble, and you try to make it into — he did no wrongdoing. Meanwhile, [Democratic nominee] Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump defends indicted GOP congressman GOP lawmaker says he expects to be indicted over FBI investigation Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on MORE has violated probably 30 federal statutes."