President TrumpDonald TrumpClyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' Sinema reignites 2024 primary chatter amid filibuster fight Why not a Manchin-DeSantis ticket for 2024? MORE wanted to release his tax returns publicly in 2013 and 2014, before he launched his White House bid, to show how much money he saved, CNN reported on Monday.
Trump wanted to release the tax returns as part of his presidential bid to show himself as a shrewd businessman, sources with firsthand knowledge of the conversations told CNN. But he decided against it after an adviser persuaded him against the plan.
Since then, Trump has engaged in a concerted, multiyear effort to keep his tax returns from the public eye, saying, among other reasons, that he cannot release them because he's under audit, although the IRS says an audit does not prevent the information from being made public.
Trump was the first major party presidential nominee not to release his returns in more than three decades.
The White House and the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to The Hill's requests for comment.
Sam Nunberg, who was one of Trump's political advisers from 2011 to 2015, told CNN the president had expressed a willingness to release his tax returns during a 2013 meeting at Trump Tower. Trump said at the time that he thought it would be a good idea, which Nunberg associated with how little the now president paid in taxes.
"He thought he could defend the return," Nunberg said. "I inferred from the conversation that he believed that it was a low number and he'd look savvy."
Nunberg's take on Trump's thought process was backed up by another CNN source.
Trump decided against releasing his returns in November 2014, before he announced his run, because Nunberg told him federal election rules required him to release only a broad financial statement.
"He wanted to look rich rather than smart," Nunberg told CNN.
House Democrats' efforts to secure Trump's financial records got a boost on Friday when a federal appeals court rejected his attempt to have their subpoena thrown out.