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Thursday, March 23, 2017

When — if ever — will Donald Trump release his tax returns?

That’s the question journalists and commentators have been asking for months now, prompting the Republican nominee to repeatedly insist that he cannot do so while he is undergoing an IRS audit. But transcripts from over a dozen interviews he has given since 2011 show not only that he’s long overdue on his promises, but also that he has strategically changed his approach to this question, leaving contradictions along the way.

During the 2012 presidential election, Trump encouraged Mitt Romney to release his tax returns. Romney’s failure to do so until days before the general election has been interpreted as a fatal mistake.

A major voice in the birther campaign against President Barack Obama, Trump also spent that election cycle pledging to release his own tax returns once Obama released his long-form birth certificate — and a few years later, once Hillary Clinton released all her emails. Both Obama and Clinton followed through, but Trump did not release his returns.

Instead, he kept delaying, saying for several months that his campaign was “working on it” and that he would take action soon. Trump only began to mention the audit as a defense for failing to release his tax returns last February, even though — as his tax lawyers have proved — he has been under a continuous audit since 2002. If the audit was really such a serious obstacle, he should have brought it up well before last winter.

More than once, Trump has also pointed to financial statements he released last year, insisting that these documents contain information about his business and cash flows, while tax returns provide no useful information to voters.

However, tax returns could provide lots of missing information on Trump’s sources of income, including whether or not he in fact has ties to Russian oligarchs. But Trump — who says voters don’t deserve to have this information — has also circumvented questions about releasing even a summary of his taxes.

His defense rests on the argument that the public could identify discrepancies that the IRS audit by itself may not find, thus potentially making him pay more taxes. Still, the late President Nixon released his tax returns while under an audit, and Trump himself released his tax returns to state officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey while under audit in order to obtain a casino license.

The transcripts below have been condensed for brevity, and key lines have been bolded.

April 19, 2011: In an interview with ABC News, Trump pledges to release his tax returns once President Obama releases his long-form birth certificate.

TRUMP: I have a great company. I’ve done a great job. Which if I run, you’ll see what a great job. Because I’ll do a full disclosure of finances.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Including tax returns?

TRUMP: We’ll look at that. Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate. I may tie my tax returns. I’d love to give my tax returns. I may tie my tax returns into Obama’s birth certificate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: All the candidates have released that in the past.

TRUMP: No, I don’t think they—I don’t think all… candidates do. But I think I may tie mine into his birth certificate. But I’ve built a great company. It’s a strong company. It’s an under-levered company. I’ve got a lot of cash and a tremendous net worth, far greater than even numbers that you’ve read.

April 27, 2011: While contemplating a run in the 2012 Republican primary, Trump tells ABC News’ Michael Falcone that he will release his tax returns “at the appropriate time.”

The following excerpt is from Stephanopoulos’ blog:

“That’s something I would be thinking about doing anyway. That is certainly something I’d be thinking about doing anyway. But before I do anything I have to make the decision in June and the first thing I’m going to be releasing will be financials,” Trump said.

Falcone asked again, will you fulfill that pledge that you made where you said I’m going to tie the birth certificate to my tax records?

“Yeah, at the appropriate time,” Trump responded.

“So you’ll do it?”

“Yeah, at the appropriate time I’m going to do it,” Trump told him.

January 18, 2012: On Fox News, Trump says Mitt Romney should release his tax returns.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Has Governor Romney been boxed on this tax return thing, and if he called you up tonight and said, Donald, ‘What should I do about tax return thing, should I release them or not?’

TRUMP: I think first answer would have been good. It should have been delivered a certain way. But April 1st historically is the time that everybody gives them.

January 30, 2012: Again commenting on Romney’s campaign, Trump tells Fox News that releasing your tax returns is “a great thing.”

BRIAN KILMEADE: When you see some of the analysis on Mitt Romney’s tax records, would that be a repellent for you, for Donald Trump to reveal everything?

TRUMP: I actually think that it’s a great thing when you can show that you’ve been successful, and that you’ve made a lot of money, that you’ve employed a lot of people. I actually think that it’s a positive.

October 24, 2012: Trump tells CNN that Romney should release his tax returns if Obama releases evidence proving his birth in the U.S.

PAUL CRUICKSHANCK: Going back to tax returns, Barack Obama released seven years, John Kerry released 12 years, Mitt Romney’s own father released a dozen years. What’s to stop him in this new spirit of transparency that you want to see? What is to stop your friend Mitt, just saying, you know what, I know there are doubts, people still don’t see the offshore records, here it is going back 12 years.

TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you, as far as I’m concerned, I think and I told this to Mitt … if he [Obama] releases, I’d like to do a swap. College records, passport applications for every tax return he [Romney] ever signed. I mean, his returns are absolutely beautiful and perfect. I looked at them. A lot of people look at them. […] If I were Mitt, I’d say […] “I’ll release the rest of them if you [Obama] release your college records and your college applications.”

May 2014: Trump says that if he runs for office, he will “absolutely” release his tax returns, in an interview with Ireland’s TV3.

COLETTE FITZPATRICK: You questioned his [Obama’s] citizenship during his campaign, and you said afterwards if he produced 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? And if I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely and I would love to do that. I did produce a financial statement even though I wasn’t even running. I did produce a financial statement and it was shocking to some because it was so much higher than people thought even possible. So it was a great statement, and it was my honor to do it.

February 25, 2015: Trump tells conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he has “no objection” to releasing his tax returns.

HUGH HEWITT: Would you release tax returns, though?

TRUMP: I would release tax returns, and I would also explain to people that as a person that’s looking to make money, you know, I’m in the business of making money until I do this. And if I won, I would make money for our country. […] So the answer is yeah, I would do it. […]

HEWITT: How many years back would you go on the day you announce? Three? Five?

TRUMP: Oh, I don’t know. I mean, I actually have not even thought of that, but I would certainly show tax returns if it was necessary.

HEWITT: At least a couple of years?

TRUMP: Well, what have they been doing? They’ve been really doing one year, other than people that never made anything. But I would, certainly. I’m very proud of what I’ve done. […] We’ll take a good, strong look at that, Hugh. I mean, it’s obviously not something I thought of, but you know, I’ve given any real thought to, but I have no objection to certainly showing tax returns.

October 4, 2015: On ABC’s This Week, Trump says he will release his tax returns once Hillary Clinton releases her emails.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Getting any closer to releasing your tax returns?

TRUMP: Well, I’m thinking about it. I’m thinking about maybe when we find out the true story on Hillary’s emails. You know, I’ve been saying that for a while, let’s find out the true stories.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, that’s been your line, but she’s been putting some out.

TRUMP: But you know what? I’m very honest with my tax returns. [CROSSTALK]

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?

TRUMP: I’m not going to say it, but at some point I’ll release it. But I pay as little as possible, I’m very proud to tell you. […] If our country was properly run, I’d almost feel much better about it, and so would a lot of other people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about what…

TRUMP: But I just want to say, I fight like hell to pay as little as possible.

January 24, 2016: On NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump says that his campaign is “working on” releasing his tax returns.

CHUCK TODD: Will you release any of your tax returns for the public to scrutinize?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, we’re working on that now. I have very big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we’ll be working that over in the next period of time, Chuck. Absolutely.

TODD: What’s a period of time? Before–

TRUMP: I don’t know, I mean, you know, accountants. This is not, like, a normal tax return. This is–

TODD: No, I understand that.

TRUMP: And I have to. […]

TODD: But you will release it–

TRUMP: I pay, it’s a little tax. And I say it. And the reporters said, “That’s the most refreshing answer I’ve ever heard on taxes,” because everyone tries to build it up […] We’re working on it right now, and at the appropriate time, you’ll be very satisfied.

February 10, 2016: Trump tells NBC News that he will release his tax returns over the next few months.

MATT LAUER: Real quickly. When are you going to release your tax returns?

TRUMP: Probably over the next few months. They’re being worked on now.

LAUER: What’s the hold up?

TRUMP: They’re very—well, it’s the very big tax returns. The biggest, I guarantee you this, the biggest ever in the history of what we’re doing. So, it’s very complicated stuff. But we’ll be releasing that.

February 22, 2016: For the first time, Trump defends his failure to release the returns with the claim that he’s under an audit by the IRS, during an appearance on the Hugh Hewitt Show.

HUGH HEWITT: First of all, when do we get tax returns, Donald Trump, because Mitt Romney got killed on this four years ago. And you’ve got to get them out there as well.

TRUMP: Well, we’ll get them out at some point, probably. I mean, I’m looking at it. I told my people the other day start looking at it. You know, I have very, very complex, I have, did you ever see the picture, I tweeted a picture where the returns are like two feet high…

HEWITT: I didn’t.

TRUMP: …which by the way it itself is ridiculous. But my returns are among the largest. I’m audited all the time by government. And I think every single year, I’ve had an audit for years. And you know, other people, friends of mine say they never get audited. I say congratulations. I have audits every year. So it’s, you know, one of those things. But we are working. They’re very complex papers, but we’re working on it.

HEWITT: Will we get them soon, do you think?

TRUMP: I don’t know. 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.

February 24, 2016: Following Mitt Romney’s accusations that Trump’s taxes contain a “bombshell,” Trump defends himself on Anderson Cooper 360 and says he will “make a determination” on his returns soon.

ANDERSON COOPER: Just today, you probably know Mitt Romney said, “I think there’s reason to believe there’s a bombshell in Trump’s taxes.” Now, we should point out, and Mitt Romney refused to release his taxes for quite a while. He ultimately did. But, why not just put it out there?

TRUMP: Well, because my returns are extremely complex and I’ll make a determination at the right time. I’m in no rush to do it. […] I have, you know, tremendously, you know, I have a very complex system of taxes. And, frankly I get audited every single year. But, we’ll make a determination over the next couple of months. It’s very complicated.

COOPER: Point blank, does that mean you absolutely will release them? Just a question of when?

TRUMP: No, I’ll make a determination. I will be making that determination over the next, I would say, couple of months. We’ll make that determination, absolutely.

A CNN article on the interview also noted that Trump told Cooper, “There is no bombshell at all other than I pay a lot of tax and the government wastes the money.”

February 25, 2016: During the CNN-Telemundo Republican Debate, Trump again says that he cannot release his tax returns while under an audit.

TRUMP: As far as my return, I want to file it, except for many years, I’ve been audited every year. Twelve years, or something like that. Every year they audit me, audit me, audit me. Nobody gets audited — I have friends that are very wealthy people. They never get audited. I get audited every year. I will absolutely give my return, but I’m being audited now for two or three years, so I can’t do it until the audit is finished, obviously. And I think people would understand that.

HUGH HEWITT: Mr. Trump, a year ago you told me on my radio show, the audio and the transcript are out there on YouTube, that you would release your tax returns.

TRUMP: True.

HEWITT: Are you going back on your commitment?

TRUMP: No, I’m not. […] 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. We’re under a routine audit. I’ve had it for years, I get audited. And obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return. As soon as the audit is done, I love it. […] As far as the taxes are concerned, I’m being audited. It’s a very routine audit, and it’s very unfair, because I’ve been audited for, I think, over 12 years. Every year, because of the size of my company, which is very, very large, I’m being audited — which is a very large company.

WOLF BLITZER: Thank you.

TRUMP: I’m being audited 12 years in a row, at least. Now, until that audit’s done, and I don’t think anybody would blame me, I’m not giving it.

February 25, 2016: During CNN’s review of the debate, Trump adds that he can’t release older returns not under audit because all his returns must be released “in a very unified way.” He also accuses the IRS of auditing him because he’s a Christian.

TRUMP: But the one problem I have is that I’m always audited by the IRS, which I think is very unfair. I don’t know maybe because of religion. Maybe because of something else. Maybe because I’m doing this although this is just recently. […]

CHRIS CUOMO: You think maybe you get audited for being a strong Christian?

TRUMP: You see what’s — well, you see what happens. I mean, you have many religious groups that are complaining about that. […]

CUOMO: But that [releasing tax returns] seems like an easy answer for you.

TRUMP: No, I can’t do that. I can’t do that. We have to put it together in a very unified way. They all relate to each other. I don’t know if you saw the picture I have where I have almost a thousand pages. The ones from previous relate to the ones later and it doesn’t make sense unless they’re all released.

CUOMO: You know, what would you do with this issue if somebody else had it? Would you say, ‘What are you talking about?’ The tax returns—just put it out.

TRUMP: Nobody that is under a regular audit. I mean, it is just a regular audit I do—almost every, I think for 12 years, 10 years, 12 years, I get audited. Nobody would ever put out their returns that’s under an audit. It’s very unfair that I’m audited all the time. And by the way, I always passed the audit. […]

CUOMO: Why wouldn’t you put it out because you’re under audit? Just so people understand. […]

TRUMP: You are in the midst of negotiating and talking to the IRS. You never put it out. You would never do that. Your lawyers would never allow you to do that. It is a very simple audit. I think it perhaps will go fast and perhaps it won’t. And when it is complete, you got them. I love it. But I think until that audit is done, certainly you wouldn’t do that.

February 27, 2016: Trump defends himself at a rally in Millington, Tenn., pointing to his financial statements for proof of his wealth instead.

“The financials are about, like, what you earn. Tax returns don’t mean anything about worth, just so you understand. And you never give a tax return when you’re being audited. You know I’ve been audited every single year […] But I filed my financials and they were phenomenal. And believe me, if they weren’t phenomenal, you would’ve heard about it from the press. You would’ve heard about it.”

February 28, 2016: Following attacks from Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, Trump insists to CNN that he cannot release tax returns while under an audit. Adding to his previous accusations, he alleges that the IRS is singling him out because of his political views.

JAKE TAPPER: Yesterday, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz released summaries of their tax returns. You have yet to do so. Rubio and Cruz have been saying that you’re trying to hide something. […] Can you deny that those charges are true, and when will we see your taxes?

TRUMP: Well, number one, I fully disclosed my financials. And I put them in actually right on time. And nobody else did, by the way, but I put them in on time. And it’s almost 100 pages of financials. And it shows over $10 billion. If you figure it out, it’s over $10 billion in net worth. And it’s an amazing company with great cash flow, very little debt, all of that. You can’t tell anything from tax returns, because you take deductions, massive deductions and lots of other things. And you can’t tell very much from a tax return. You really can’t tell anything as to that. As far as gifts, I give a lot of money. I could probably release a lot of the gifts that I have given over the years. […]

But I can’t release tax returns when there’s an audit. Now, it’s very unfair. I have been treated very unfairly by the IRS, because I have been audited almost every year for 10 or 12 years. And I have friends that are very rich people. They never get audited. And so I think I have been really singled out. I don’t know why I’m singled out, maybe because I’m a — very conservative, maybe because I’m Tea Party. […]

I don’t know what it is, but I have been singled out. So, until the audit is completed, obviously, I’m not giving my papers. And you had people on your show and on CNN with — tax experts said, no, it would be crazy to give papers before the audit is completed. […]

So, just — just to finish, I have fully disclosed my net worth. And all you have to do is go and check my financial statements, because I fully disclosed my financial statements, and that was a big deal, and they’re very good. And, obviously, you would have heard about it if they weren’t, because they have been gone over by everybody. As far as the tax returns, I obviously cannot give tax returns that are under audit. And every expert that you have had on your show said you shouldn’t do it. You should wait until the audit is over.

February 28: Trump avoids a question on CBS’s Face the Nation regarding whether or not he would release a summary of his taxes. He also promises to confirm his audit with a letter from his lawyers.

JOHN DICKERSON: You’re being audited. You said you won’t release your returns. What about releasing a summary? That is sometimes what candidates do. It will show your income, your charitable deductions, your effective tax rate. Would you do that?

TRUMP: Well, I have already done — I have already released my financials, which are massive, and, by the way, which showed a tremendous company. […]

DICKERSON: What about a summary, though, of your taxes?

TRUMP: You don’t learn — you don’t learn very much from tax — hey, John, you don’t learn very much from tax returns, let me tell you right now. But when you’re under audit, you don’t give your papers. An audit is — I have been under audit for so many years. Every year, I get audited. For, I think, over 10 years, maybe even 12 years, I have been audited. […]

DICKERSON: Would you produce the audit letter, by the way, in terms of those who are just skeptical that maybe this is just an effort to not release your tax returns?

TRUMP: I don’t think I would have problem with that. I assume I can give you a letter from a big law firm saying that we’re under audit. But I have been audited. And I will let you know how many years too. I have been audited for consecutive years, many, many, many years. And I think it’s unfair.

Trump did in fact follow through somewhat on his promise to confirm the audit. On March 30, his campaign released a letter from his tax lawyers, which said that the candidate is under audit for tax returns from 2009 onward.

May 8, 2016: On NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump pledges to release his tax returns as soon as the audit is over.

CHUCK TODD: All right, last question. Why not release the tax returns that aren’t involved in the audit?

TRUMP: Because it’s a link. I have very big tax returns. I’m sure you’ve seen the picture where they’re literally from the floor to up to here. They’re extremely complex. I get audited–

TODD: Do you think you can do it before the election, though?

TRUMP: I hope so. I’d like to. I have no problem releasing the tax returns

TODD: Do you pledge to do it before the election?

TRUMP: Excuse me. Sure. If the auditors finish. I’ll do it as fast as the auditors finish. Remember this, I’ve already given my financials. And my financials show I’m worth more than $10 billion by any stretch of the imagination. Has tremendous cash. Tremendous cash flow. You don’t learn much from tax returns. But I would love to give the tax returns. But I can’t do it until I’m finished with the audit.

May 11, 2016: Trump tells the AP that he will only release his tax returns once the audit is complete and that he will not push his lawyers on the issue.

“There’s nothing to learn from them,” Trump said. He also said he doesn’t believe voters are interested.

“Now, I hope [the audit] gets finished soon. And if it gets finished soon, I put it out immediately because there’s nothing there. But until you get finished, you won’t,” he said.

He also weighed in on this interview on Twitter, saying, “In interview I told @AP that my taxes are under routine audit and I would release my tax returns when audit is complete, not after election!”

One of the reporters behind the story, Julie Pace, said later that day on CNN’s This Hour: “We said, ‘Will you push your lawyers on this, will you tell them that voters deserve to know this information regardless of the audit?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘One, the voters don’t actually care about this, and two, there is no new l information that would come out of the tax returns.'”

In a statement to statement to CNN, Trump’s spokeswoman said, “Mr. Trump has always said that when the routine audit is complete he would release his tax returns.”

May 11, 2016: In a tense interview with Fox News, Trump repeats his defense, emphasizing that it makes no legal sense for him to release his tax returns while under an audit.

VAN SUSTEREN: You said that you don’t intend to release your tax returns.

TRUMP: I didn’t say that. I said I’m being audited.

VAN SUSTEREN: What about the returns that aren’t being audited?

TRUMP: There’s a link, but it goes way back.

VAN SUSTEREN: How far back have you been audited?

TRUMP: I don’t know, I’d have to ask, but long enough that it would matter, and there’s a link between that and other things, and as soon as the audit’s finished, I’d love to—

VAN SUSTEREN: A link with what?

TRUMP: It’s just a relatively simple audit. Now I’ll tell you what’s unfair, every year for many years, I’ve been audited. And I have friends who are very rich that never get audited. I get audited every single year. I think it’s actually very unfair. […]

VAN SUSTEREN: If your audit goes back seven years would you be release the eighth year back?

Would you be willing to do that?

TRUMP: Number one, it’d be meaningless. I’d have to find out how far back it goes, but number one it’d be meaningless. When you go back eight years

VAN SUSTEREN: People are suspicious. People are suspicious that you’re not releasing because in January of 2012 you said to me that Mitt Romney was making a big mistake by not releasing his, so naturally that’s become a flashpoint.

TRUMP: But he wasn’t under audit. I’m under audit. No lawyer would say, ‘Release it when you’re under audit.’ And these are very simple audits… If you represented me, and I was under audit.

VAN SUSTEREN: I would tell you not to release. I agree. I’m a lawyer.  If I were your lawyer.

TRUMP: So the answer is before the election, I’ll release. And I’d like to release. But really, you learn very little from a tax return. You know, I’ve released my financials, and my financials show tremendous numbers, very little debt, you don’t learn very much from your tax returns.

VAN SUSTEREN: But by releasing those, it dispels that argument that there’s something going on that you’re not doing it. It takes the mystery off of it.

TRUMP: You don’t learn anything. A tax return, you learn very, very little. I have released highly detailed, complex financials in line with the Federal Elections Commission. We put them in with, I think, it’s 99 pages or close to 100 pages of detail saying what a great company I built. […] We learn very little from a tax return, but here’s the thing, Greta, when you’re under audit, and you totally said it, as a lawyer…

VAN SUSTEREN: I totally agree. If you were my client, if you were under audit, I would totally say, don’t release it, but I just think there’s some years outside the audit that might be released realistically

TRUMP: I think they are meaningless. It doesn’t matter because they’re so far back. But at the right time I’ll release them. I hope to release them, I’d like to release them. But when I’m under audit I can’t do that.

May 13, 2016: Trump tells ABC News that voters do not have a right to see his tax returns before the election, again saying that he will present the returns once the audit is over.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe voters have a right to see your tax returns before they make a final decision?

TRUMP: I don’t think they do. But I do say this, I will really gladly give them — they’re not going to learn anything but it’s under routine audit. When the audit ends I’ll present them. That should be before the election. I hope it’s before the election. But when the audit ends. I’ve had even journalists say that, no, nobody should give until audits are over. […] As far as I’m concerned, I want to give it as soon as possible. […]

STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know the audit is no excuse. The IRS has made it very clear an audit is not a bar to public release. It is entirely your choice. President Nixon released his tax returns even though he was under audit. And when you were seeking a casino license in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you released the returns to the state officials even though you were under audit.

TRUMP: I am under audit now and as soon as the audit ends I’ll release my returns. If you look at many others, many others feel the same way and almost every lawyer will tell you the same thing –when you’re under audit you finish the audit before you release. I have no problem and it should be and I hope it’s before the election […] By the way, people will learn nothing. I put in financials 100 pages worth of financials that show that I built a company that’s worth more than $10 billion. It shows cash. It shows cash flows. Returns but nevertheless, when the audit is complete, i will release. I have no problem with it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: […] If you are willing to release your tax returns to get a casino license, why shouldn’t voters see them before they make you commander in chief?

TRUMP: Well, because at the time it didn’t make any sense. If you take a look at the picture that we sent you with a tax returns probably ten feet high when you stack them on top and lengthy and complex. I built a massive business and want to make sure that everything is perfect. It’s a routine audit and get through it first and that’s what I’ll do. […]

STEPHANOPOULOS: They can actually learn quite a lot. They can learn your sources of income. They can learn whether you have any foreign sources of income or any Swiss bank accounts or other offshore accounts. Do you?

TRUMP: I tell you right now, I do not. I do not have Swiss bank accounts. I don’t have offshore — I really have a very, very clean company. […]

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?

TRUMP: It’s none of your business. You’ll see it when I release but I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible. […]

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said you would release your tax returns then thinking of running for president when President Obama releases his birth certificate. He did. Then you said you would release your tax returns when Secretary Clinton releases her emails. She has turned over all emails in her possession.

TRUMP: There’s plenty of emails missing. I read yesterday that there were a lot of emails missing. […]

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said then that you were just going through all of the returns and you will release them now you’re throwing up the audit.

TRUMP: I never said that at all. I said I will release them upon the completion of the audit like anybody else. I was interviewed last night or the other night by Greta Van Susteren, who is a lawyer. She said I happen to agree with you. Until then, you shouldn’t release them.

May 21, 2016: Trump tells The Washington Post that he pays “substantial” taxes.

In an interview this week, Trump said that he has paid “substantial” taxes but declined to provide specifics.

He reiterated that he fights “very hard to pay as little tax as possible.”

“One of the reasons is because the government takes your money and wastes it in the Middle East and all over the place,” he said.

Since this article was published, Trump and a top aide have made more comments on the matter. See these additions below:

July 27, 2016: As questions arise over Trump’s financial relationship to Russia, his campaign chair says in a CBS interview that his tax returns have “nothing to do” with the matter.

NORAH O’DONNELL: I saw that Trump tweeted yesterday that he has zero investments in Russia. But does Russia have investments in Trump? Would Mr. Trump be willing to release his taxes to provide transparency on this issue?

PAUL MANAFORT: Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and that he will not be releasing them. It has nothing to do with Russia. It has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and his normal tax auditing processes. That issue will be dealt with when the audits are done.

O’DONNELL: So to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?

MANAFORT: That’s what he said. That’s obviously what our position is.

July 28, 2016: In his most recent comments on the issue, Trump tells Fox News that he hasn’t received much pressure to release his tax returns.

VAN SUSTEREN: If Secretary Clinton were willing to give up the transcripts from her Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street speeches, would you be willing to give up, or surrender, or let the media see your tax returns and, if it’s not — at least not for the years not currently in audit?

DONALD TRUMP: […] You’re the one that said recently, and I have used your name a couple of times, that if I had a client who was under a routine audit by the IRS, I wouldn’t let him go public until the audit is over. Now, you said that on your show, and you were speaking then not as a great and talented anchor, but you were speaking as a lawyer, and somebody that knows what they are talking about. But you said yourself, if you were a lawyer, you wouldn’t do it.

VAN SUSTEREN: I said as a lawyer for the years in audit, absolutely, but […] To give sort of a general idea, and sort of call off the dogs and the people who are after your tax returns to look at them, why not release those that are not in audit, even if they go back a number of years?

TRUMP: Well, I haven’t had much pressure. I’ll be honest, most people don’t care about it. The only ones that care are certain people in the media. I’ve had very, very little pressure. And, I remember with Mitt Romney four years ago. Everybody wanted his. […] And Mitt gave that, and after he gave it, they found a little sentence and they made such a big deal. He might have lost the election over that.

Photo: Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a news conference in Bismarck, North Dakota US May 26, 2016.   REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    

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87 Responses to #ShowUsYourTaxes: Here’s Every Time Donald Trump Has Said He Would Release His Tax Returns

  1. First he said he would release his tax returns when Obama released his birth certificate. Then he said he would release his returns when Hillary released her emails. Then he said he would release his returns when the audit is over. After the audit is complete, he will say he will release his returns as soon as hell freezes over. The only way we are going to see his tax returns is when the court releases them because of a freedom of information suit filed by a news agency because he is being prosecuted for tax fraud.

    • Sen. Obama released a signed, sealed and verified to be absolutely authentic birth certificate in June 2008.

      • Trump would probably suggest that it took President Obama until June 2008 to bribe Hawaiian officials to phony-up a long-form birth certificate–not to mention the hit he commissioned on the midwife who delivered him in Kenya.

    • Also we as voters should threaten to hold back our vote for him (as if we were actually going to vote for the bung hole) until he releases at least seven years of his tax returns including the current one.. Let’s see how he would react to that ‘lil ditty. I think he would turn into a vindictive whino and start bigoting on us. I mean, he does carry his emotions on his shoulders.. just ask Hillary.

      • He’ll never do that because his “followers” actually don’t care about his tax returns, which is kind of silly. You can bet that if Hillary hadn’t provided hers, they’d be all over that like peanut butter on bread!!!

  2. Just one more “charm” on the bracelet of Trump’s malfeasance.
    The general electorate can plainly see what a conman he is.
    I am pleased to see that he’s even beginning to smell bad to Republicans. The donors won’t give him money. No one will speak at the convention. The delegates are polishing up their “conscience clause.” Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t had a kind word for him in weeks, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has openly encouraged the party to, “follow their conscience,” — not Donald Trump. Plus, the international press has savaged him after his latest infomercial from Scotland.
    Forget the glory days of being able to kill somebody on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight.
    This guy couldn’t be redeemed if he saved an orphan from a rabid dog.

  3. Damn my head hurts reading Trumps same bland excuse for not releasing his tax records. I’m under audit blah blah. He simply will never release them unless under court order. The man is a pathological liar & parasite who will never call 1600 Pennsylvania Ave as his home. EVER. I can’t believe how incredibly naive arrogant & stupid he sounds every time he opens his damn mouth. We the voters will have to zip it for him permanently in November

      • He probably sealed his school records to reduce the likelihood that former professors, TA’s and classmates, roommates, and fellow club members would be targeted by the press, or the internet. He has released his birth certificate — as no other president has EVER done.
        What more do you care to see, Daniel?

          • There are many explosive and damaging statements in your link, Daniel.
            If it were true, we’d still be hearing about it every time we checked the news.

          • Aw hell no, Daniel. Not the media. The media investigates things that boost ratings. A sitting president’s college records don’t have enough oomph for the media.
            No. I was thinking about the full weight and power of the Republican party. Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, etc., should be ALL OVER these allegations. But they aren’t. Because Wayne Allyn Root is a gasbag. And none of his allegations are true. Reread your own link. His allegations are his, “gut” feelings.
            Thanks for showing us all how gullible you are.

          • I’m gullible? You’re answer was based on the media then you change it to Wayne Allen Root and the Republican Party.The man went to college with Obama. He knows him.Do you? A sitting president’s records would definitely be a good news story if they showed he committed fraud to get into college. A 2009 snopes .com article claims that Obama’s records were being used to claim he was foreign born and not eligible to be president. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/occidental.asp A later article [2015] Shows that it was American citizen Obama who claimed foreign citizenship in order to get into college. No claim of foreign birth is asserted. The point being that when an American citizen applies for college loans as a foreign student he has committed fraud, a [FELONY]! When the snopes article came out the facts of the case were accurate but only speculation derived from second hand information.His records released in 2015 confirmed the story to be true. http://godfatherpolitics.com/obama-classmate-reveals-why-college-records-sealed/ Root came to his conclusions through research,facts,how the applicants of college loans are vetted and logical deduction;not the opinions of sites with a political agenda or a liberal media determined to side with Democrats.

          • I referred to the original link you provided, written by Wayne Allyn Root, in which he denies ever having met Pres. Obama. Please, read your link (to blackquill) if you’re having trouble keeping up.
            The point, my gullible friend, is that you have no story. You have no facts. You have no back-up. You have “gut” feelings, conjecture and hot air.
            I don’t know why you’re still buying it. Our sitting and reelected president involved in immigration scandal, fraud, felony? Really? If any of it were true, wouldn’t a hostile press, or the Republican party, or even your current candidate Trump, wouldn’t they have blown it wide open? Years ago? Wouldn’t this “information” be incredibly good for their side of politics?
            Yet, Pres. Obama’s adversaries haven’t used Wayne Allyn Root’s “information.” They haven’t even repeated it. Because it isn’t true.
            And you, Daniel, are still gullible. Plus, Trump is losing. Big time.

          • You’re the gullible one. Crooked politicians get away with their crimes all the time. Obama is no exception.I see that you are a blinded lemming who never investigates an accusation of corruption unless it is against a Republican. Your claim that that “hostile press” has been silent about Obama is pure BULL! Alternate media sources have been screaming from the rooftops for years about Obama. I am independent. I don’t take sides.If someone is corrupt I say so no matter which side. Your insult about my “gullibility” only shows your bias. You say that Obama is innocent due to lack of evidence against him.It is there you just never looked. I will leave you with one last thought.When it comes to criminal activity and corruption; absence of evidence isn’t always evidence of absence. Any rookie police officer can tell you that. You can’t find something if you never look for it.

          • Obviously Daniel, that was some very good advice as in “When you find yourself in a hole, the best thing to do is to stop digging”. It is a piece of advice that is both free and priceless!

          • And which hole do I find myself in? It sounds like I am being warned to stop before I am put on a government watch list. I think it is too late to worry about that. Why should a nobody like me be afraid to assert my first amendment rights? Is it because there is actually something to fear from big brother? Is it because people like me are considered dangerous to the government? Is my fear that a new form of American Gestapo watching me justified? Has 1984 actually become reality? Are you actually warning me due to compassion or because you think I can be intimidated to side with the tyrannical usurpers?

          • Well, Daniel, your response kinda says it all. The hole you are in is commonly called “paranoia”. There is no “government watch list”, no “big brother” to fear, you are perfectly free to express your first amendment rights. You flatter yourself if you think you may be so “dangerous to the government” that you would be justified in thinking “they” are out to get you. No, we are not experiencing a “1984” scenario and there is no American Gestapo, so need to fear there. My post was merely an attempt to answer your question posed to P.D. above. Don’t believe everything you read but also don’t read something in that isn’t there. I wish you a good day.

          • Then what was behind the “stop digging” warning? was it meaningless drivel? You should notice that everything I said everything in the form of a

          • Personally, David, I don’t think the government considers you (or I, for example) are important enough to be watching. That is, unless you are a terrorist and visit terrorist websites frequently…..then, and maybe then, they may take a glance at you! Other than that, I think you can feel safe!

          • I see that you are convinced that you know the ins and outs of how the CIA and NSA work. I am not worried about being watched. If I am questioned they will release me after digging and finding zero. As a side note My name isn’t David.

          • Who’s the lemming here? Do you have a mirror you can look into? And, if the so-called “alternate media sources” have been “screaming from the rooftops,” don’t you think that President Obama would have been impeached. The fact that no one, except you, seem to “know” about all these fallacies is amazing! As for being “troll leftists,” again, you might look into that mirror because you’re a troll for the RW and no one on this website believes a word that you say…..you just make yourself sound more and more ridiculous with each post!

          • Poor Daniel. He’s a classic case of a paranoid personality. He has delusions of grandeur when he says that he has information that has somehow been hidden from others by conspirators (the entire Democratic Party in aiding and abetting President Obama’s usurpation of his office–and probably the Republican traitors in Congress who have failed to impeach President Obama). Daniel also shows signs of mistrust and suspicion, and he displays signs of fear, anger, and anxiety. But then he’s not all that different from the majority of Trump followers. Could it be that what were seeing in the Trump phenomenon is simply a manifestation of mass paranoia?

          • Daniel is typical of most of the conservatives that like Trump….the GOP, as I think I’ve said before, uses lies, conspiracy theories and scare tactics to motivate their base and this isn’t any different. Trump’s speech at the convention was exactly that….lies, scare tactics and BS! Unfortunately, his followers believe him and that’s the sad part! This country is NOT on the brink of disaster as he seems to think.

          • And, wouldn’t all this false information show up when President Obama was vetted by the Democratic Party before he became a candidate for office? They go through a very detailed background check and, trust me, if there’s anything there, it’s going to be found!

          • Your link to the snopes article proves you are gullible since it shows your claims to be total malarkey if you bothered to read it. They even include a paragraph detailing exactly why your precious evidence is total crap and yet you persist. I copied it here to give you another chance to learn not to make up stories or repeat obvious lies. “Read these tiny words very closely: the group Americans for Freedom of Information does not exist, just like the supposed “AP article” you keep cutting and pasting into e-mails to your irritated family does not exist, just like the “Daily Mail article” referenced in the fake “AP article” does not exist. They’re all fabrications. Fakes. Hoaxes. Ask yourself why you’re so eager to believe these obvious fakes. No, really. Really, really ask yourself.” Run along now, we wouldn’t want you to miss Jerry Springer

          • Ask yourself why you believe everything the party and the mainstream media claim without question. It’s obvious that you have you have willingly blinded yourself to any argument that contradicts your assumptions. The group Americans for information doesn’t exist? Actually they do. They are a hoax website purporting to expose hoaxes and posting falsities as truths. Unless you click the “about us” button you don’t know they are a deceptive website ran by leftists. Unlike politifact or factcheck who are honest sites that openly post the results of their investigations in their articles, this site disguises their posts as actual news stories and hides their mission and force you to fact check the factcheckers. My mistake was in believing that this site was neutral and honest. I also see that it took you a month to find my mistake. I am confident that you thought the site was legit yourself until you looked deeper,otherwise you would have responded faster than you did. You also found no fault in their deceptive methods. You would reserve that kind of indignation for deceptive hoax website ran by conservatives. This Time magazine article says there are similar Republican websites. http://time.com/3107682/nrcc-fake-websites/ but the only two sites the link to show this http://www.electionupdate2014.com/ca21update70/http:/www.electionupdate2014.com/ca21update70/

          • Did you go to college with President Obama? You might want to ask that question yourself. And, how do we ACTUALLY know that this individual went to school with President Obama? Again, you tend to believe everything you’re told, even by Snopes! All of what you have pointed out in your post has been proven to be untrue. But, then again, you guys don’t seem to care about facts….only about the lies you’re brainwashed by the GOP to believe! By the way, who in hell is Root and why should we believe everything that he says?

          • I could ask you the same question. Actually, will. Did YOU go to college with Obama? How do we know that the man went to college with Obama? How do you know he Didn’t go to college with Obama? Where is your proof? I’m not the one who tends to believe things that were debunked. How do I know this was debunked? Where is your evidence confirming that assumption? Who are “you guys’? People who don’t trust lying Democrats? If that’s what you mean then count me as one of those “guys”. You are just another lemming following the other liberals over the cliff to your own destruction. You a are typical leftist zombie,all mouth and no substance.

          • You seem to be similar to the people who produce those shows that purport to find evidence of ancient aliens and bigfoot. In those shows, the conclusion, upon which the shows are based, is already assumed to be true. These shows then go out and find evidence to support the “pre-conclusion.” In your case, the conclusion is that President Obama was born in Kenya, that he did not get into Harvard Law on merits, that he had lousy grades, and that he applied as a foreign student. Thus, any
            hint that supports your presumption is, for you, solid proof of what you hope to see. Now, in defense of Trump, it is perhaps unfair to assume that Trump is hiding something nefarious in his tax returns, such as connections to the Russian mob, much less wealth than he claims, or even medical expenses that might point to heretofore undocumented illnesses or psychiatric treatments. (We can be almost certain that Trump would claim even the smallest medical expense since he’s claimed that he fights to keep his taxes to a minimum.) He does not have to show his tax returns, but failing to do so leads people to believe that he’s hiding something–and speculation can be damaging. Your assertions about President Obama are examples of the types of speculation I am suggesting.

          • Actually I prefer documentable proof rather that the pure speculation about Trump you just engaged in. This is a video that takes the PDF file of the long form birth certificate directly from the official white house.gov site that shows it is not a scan of an original paper document but is actually a forgery created in a computer. Get ready for a reality check. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjvGcF1ZHXU Can you give a valid reason why this isn’t a problem for you?

          • I fell for a forensic evaluation of a forged document? The fact you are avoiding is that even Obama’s legal team admitted IN COURT that the birth certificate on the white house site was a forgery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JaZ2QsjP9A http://www.govtslaves.info/obamas-lawyers-officially-admit-birth-certificate-fake/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-DikUMrkcU This news is not new. You are the one who fell for a con job. It looks like you were precipitously dropped on your head as a baby.

          • Hot air is a real thing, DANIEL WRIGHT.
            BIRTHERISM IS FOR SAPS!

            AND YOU FELL FOR IT!

            Psst! HEY, DANIEL WRIGHT!
            YOUR SHOE’S UNTIED…

          • I have proof you didn’t even check out. I fell for nothing. Obama is a master flimflam man with billions behind him. I see the man behind the curtain. You are still on the yellow brick road.As I have shown you,there is a video of Obama’s lawyers admitting IN COURT the birth certificate is a forgery. Their argument was that being a forgery meant that it couldn’t be presented as evidence. Apparently the judge bought it. I have proof. Where is yours? Show that it has proved genuine. It hasn’t.

          • I’m a huge (Yu-u-u-uge) fan of actual historic facts.
            but… but… BIRTHERISM?
            HAW HAW HAW Gasp HAW HAW HAW Snort HAW HAW HAW

          • Watch the video I posted. Show me that it isn’t a genuine forensic breakdown of a forged document. You’re too afraid I will prove you wrong. That is why you post meaningless dribble with nothing constructive to say. Leftists like you are such sniveling cowards.

          • Leftists like me are such sni… HEE HEE HEE Gasp HOO HOO HOO Wheeze HAW HAW HAW
            Please ! STOP !!
            You’re Killing me!
            HAW HAW HAW Snort HAW HAW HAW…

          • That joint has you laughing too much. Time for a munchie break. That must be some good pot.

          • Daniel, you’ve made it very clear why Trump says he “loves uneducated” people; they are so easily manipulated! In his screed, Root repeatedly stated that his words were simply his “gut feeling” and gave NOT ONE piece of evidence to back up his “feeling”. He didn’t even give any info that would back up his assertion that he went to ANY college, let alone the same one as Obama at the same time. He is obviously a liar just like Trump and just like YOU! By the way, did you notice what Root’s initials spell?

          • Unfortunately, Daniel is one of those “uninformed voters” that will believe anything he’s told by the GOP…..even if it’s lies that have been proven to be untrue! It’s pretty sad that he doesn’t seem to have a mind of his own and the one he DOES have is totally brainwashed!

      • He did release his when he was running for President. He is not required to keep on releasing them, and he can seal them now if he wants to. They are no longer anyone’s business.

        ..

  4. He owns around four hundred companies so he will have a page or two from each. Most will be loosing money and he will write off all his income and pay no taxes. He will have a hard time explaining why most of his companies are loosing money. That’s why he will not release his taxes. It’s also why he is being audited. You can only loose money for so many years before the IRS starts looking into it. The Great and Powerful Trump really isn’t the winner he wants you to believe.

    • It may be more complicated, and embarrassing, than that. He’s been sued 1600+ times, and each time he lost (over 250 times), he’s had to file financial disclosure with the court when detailing his payment plan.
      Imagine how many times he’d fetch a “contempt” or “perjury” citation with his released returns?

    • Bobnstuff…..not trying to be mean or critical, but the word is “LOSE.” To “loosen” something is to set it free, but to “lose” something means you misplaced it. Sorry…I’m anal about spelling, hope you don’t get mad at me.

      • I could never get mad at you. I am very bad at spelling, always have been. Trumps idea of taxes are that they are for suckers to pay, not him. He has ended up in court over not paying property taxes, claiming they were to high even though he had claimed a much greater property value when figuring his worth.

        • Thanks…..I have the same problem with “affect” and “effect” as you have with lose and loose! For some reason, I just can’t get it through my head what the difference is!!! Very frustrating, isn’t it! So, I can’t be too picky when others have the same problem!
          As for Trump’s tax problem…..he’s hiding something, and I would LOVE to know what it is BEFORE he even chances getting elected. I know that if we had a glimpse at those returns, it would change the entire election! But, as I said, what gets me the most is that the taxes that he DOESN’T pay come out of OUR taxpayer money, and for someone to be proud enough about that to brag about how little he pays is a little appalling to me!

          • Trump and his income level don’t pay their own way when they pay their full taxes. If you look at what is spent for their life style, airports, roads, sports stadiums, theaters, police protection, protection for their international business ventures, etc. These fat cats are expensive to maintain. Trump is not even paying even as much as the others, I’m sure he is using every tax dodge he can. The IRS has been checking him for years and my guess is every year he has been made to pay more then he tried to.He cheats on everything else so one would expect him to try to cheat here also.

  5. Donald Trump Pays No Taxes.
    ~!~
    **ARREST** the douchebag prime and make him defend himself from the charge by releasing the fucking returns.

    • Mittens released his tax returns that showed he tried to illegally deduct as business expense tens of thousands of dollars in dancing horsie costs.

      Never a word about that from the repig side.

      But when Planned Parenthood had a surplus of 40 cents on a cost reimbursement of a tissue donation expense the repigs screamed bloody murder!

      “Profiting on selling the organs of dead children!!!”

  6. We understand Donald that according to you, your taxes are complicated, but it’s not complicated to us why you won’t release them. It’s obvious that you have so much to hide.

    • On one hand he says his taxes are very, very simple and then he says they are very, very complicated… come on Donnie, you can’t have it both ways for cryin’ out loud!

    • I agree, but the problem is that many of his followers just believe everything he says and do not listen when facts are presented to show otherwise! I’m not sure why people do that…..I didn’t think that many people were uninformed to the point of believing this out and out liar!

  7. Senator Barak H. Obama of Illinois released in June, 2008 a perfectly legal birth certificate.

    It showed that he was born in Honolulu, HI in 1961.

    The document was signed, sealed and verified to be absolutely authentic.

    What part of that did the Donnie not understand?

    Signed, sealed, verified.

    The rest is racism.

  8. I get paid close to 6000-8000 bucks every month with an online job. For anyone looking to complete basic computer-based work for 2-5 hrs /day from comfort of your home and get decent income while doing it… This is a gig for you… http://ow.ly/bAic302l4rr

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  9. We all know Trump can’t release the tax returns because of the shame it would reveal: that he is not a billionaire, that he is surviving on money from Putin’s Russian oligarchs and Saudi princes. Donald Trump is a total fraud.

    • I wonder if it is legally possible to compel the IRS to release tax returns of one running for public office ? If he wont release his taxes then the IRS ought to after he wants to become President

      • I don’t see them doing it to anyone running as a Republican. If he was running as a Democrat, it probably would have happened by now.
        Especially after this trumped-up “scandal” of them targeting conservative groups. Any IRS scrutiny of a Republican will bring the attack dogs back out in full force.

  10. I’m beginning to think that he cannot show his tax returns, as I’ll be he didn’t even file his taxes. Prove it, little weasel, I don’t think you filed your taxes, much less paid any. He is busy fleecing Russia now. He may want to re-think about fleecing them.

    ..

    • I get really pissed every time I hear him say “I paid very little taxes….I do whatever I can not to have to pay taxes.” Why would ANYONE brag about something like that! He also keeps saying, “the business “I” built….without giving any kudos to the people that run his business and actually do the work! Typical narcissistic, bloviating idiot!!!

  11. Trump can’t release his tax returns. He’s been sued 1600+ times, and each time he lost (over 250 times), he’s had to file financial disclosure with the court when detailing his payment plan.

    Imagine how many times he’d fetch a “contempt” or “perjury” citation with his released returns? Donnie’s proven he’s an empty braggart, but his handlers aren’t stupid enough to let that happen.

  12. He’ll release his tax returns just as soon as hell freezes over. He can’t release them now because they would provide too much proof that he’s a liar and a fraud. When he was trying to get a casino license he was faced with a simple choice: either he released his tax returns or his application for a license would be denied. He should now be given a similar choice: either he releases his tax returns or he is disqualified as a political candidate. If the Republican Party won’t do that, then the voting public must do it by refusing to vote for him unless and until he releases his tax returns.

  13. The more of his denials to release his tax returns come in….the more I have to believe that there is something VERY scary in those returns that he doesn’t want anyone to know about! Maybe we can get the Russian hackers to hack into his tax returns (just kidding…..please!!!). I would LOVE to know exactly what he’s hiding in those returns, and I don’t think the American public should have to wait until just BEFORE the election and even AFTER the election!!!

    • More conspiracy theories from Nut-jobs are us – that includes the Obama Birth certificate, Ted Cruz not being a citizen, Clinton being anything other than a fool for marrying Bill and my personal favorite; Trump is a good businessman and a human. Right!

  14. I basically make in the range of $6,000-$8,000 monthly for freelance jobs i do at home. Anyone looking to do simple online work for several hours /day at your house and earn good payment in the same time… Then this job opportunity is for you… http://fave.co/20SSeWe

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