Hillary Clinton’s campaign Saturday night seized on a New York Times report about Donald Trump’s 1995 tax records, in which the Times showed he declared a $916 million loss that could have allowed him to legally skip paying federal income taxes for years.
The report, which contains the first detailed tax documents about Trump’s financial empire that have been publicly reported, was immediately picked up by Clinton’s campaign, which has sought to make Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns a major issue of the campaign.
Clinton’s official Twitter account retweeted a link about the article shortly after it was published around 9 p.m. ET, and Brian Fallon, a campaign spokesman, called it a “bombshell.”
The Times’ report shows Trump that year declared a $916 million loss and lists tax benefits he used after a turbulent financial period for him in the early 1990s. The paper, citing tax experts, said Trump could have used his loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income for nearly two decades.
The paper says it obtained the three pages of documents when they were mailed to a reporter last month. A postmark indicated the documents were mailed from New York City, and the return address claimed the envelope had been sent from Trump Tower.
The paper did not look at his federal return. It obtained one page of his New York State resident income tax return as well as the first page of New Jersey and Connecticut nonresident returns.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said the real estate magnate has a “fiduciary responsibility” to his business, family and employees “to pay no more tax than legally required.” It added that Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in other taxes, including property and real estate taxes.
“The only news here is that the more than 20-year-old alleged tax document was illegally obtained, 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 statement said.
Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns has been a break with decades of modern presidential politics, as candidates dating back to the 1970s have released such information.
Clinton slammed Trump over the tax issue at their debate on Monday.
“Why won’t he release his tax returns?” Clinton asked.
“Maybe he is not as rich as he says he is,” she went on. “Maybe he is not as charitable as he claims to be. Maybe he doesn’t want the American people to know that he has paid nothing in federal taxes.”
She continued to press him: “There is something he is hiding.”
When she speculated that Trump hadn’t paid federal income tax in years, Trump replied, “That makes me smart.”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Dan Merica and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
By Karl de Vries