White House: No plans for Trump to release tax returns after Times story

The White House said Wednesday there are no plans for President Trump to release his tax returns in the face of a New York Times report that found he engaged in “dubious” tax practices in the 1990s, allowing him to reap millions.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that she was “not aware of any plans” for Trump to release his tax returns. She also downplayed the significance of the Times’s story, calling it a “totally false attack based on an old, recycled news story.”

“I’m not going to sit and go through every single line of a very boring, 14,000-word story,” she said at a press briefing.

{mosads}Sanders did not rebut any specific facts in the story, but referenced a statement from Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, to the newspaper.

Harder said in the statement that allegations Trump engaged in tax evasion are “100 percent false.” The attorney said Trump “had virtually no involvement” with the tax strategies used by his family, and delegated those tasks to others. 

Harder went on to imply that the newspaper would face a defamation lawsuit if it suggested Trump participated in a fraudulent tax scheme.

The Times reported Tuesday that the president engaged in “dubious” tax practices to shield money from his father’s real estate empire from taxes.

Records obtained by the news outlet showed that Trump and his siblings created a “sham” corporation to disguise taxable gifts from their parents, the Times said, and undervalued many of their father’s properties to avoid higher taxes. 

The strategies, which the Times reported amounted to fraud in some cases, allowed Trump to reap more than $400 million. 

The president earlier Wednesday blasted the story as a “very old, boring and often told hit piece,” but stopped short of denying any of the reporting.

Trump drew criticism during the 2016 presidential campaign for his refusal to release his tax returns. The decision marked a break with tradition from presidential candidates dating back decades.

He repeatedly claimed his taxes were under audit and therefore could not be made public, though many noted that he could still request that they be released.

Sanders said Wednesday that “a number” of Trump’s taxes are “still under audit,” though she could not specify whether those taxes are from the period in question in the Times story this week.

She also quipped in responding to the Times report that “one thing the article did get right” was detailing the confidence Trump’s father had in him.

“In fact, the president brought his father into a lot of deals and they made a lot of money together,” Sanders said. “So much so, that his father went on to say that ‘everything he touched turned to gold.’ ”

While the Times included that quote from Fred Trump, the news outlet also reported on a spat related to his will.

The Times obtained depositions that showed Fred Trump was bothered by an attempt from Donald Trump to rewrite his father’s will in a way that would benefit the younger Trump.

Fred Trump told family members that he was concerned his real estate empire may be used by his son to offset some of his business failures, and asked his daughter to find new lawyers who would protect his assets from his son, the Times reported.

Updated at 2:20 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump

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