Donald Trump again dodged questions about why he has not released his tax returns: “I don’t mind releasing. I’m under a routine audit. I’ll be released, as soon as the audit’s finished, it’ll be released.” He then suggested that he was willing to go against his own lawyers’ advice and release them — if Hillary Clinton would only produce 30,000 deleted emails.
In February, Trump said he would “at some point, probably” make his tax returns public. But later, he claimed that he could not do so because his returns since 2009 are under IRS audit (at one point suggesting that he is regularly audited because he is a Christian).
The IRS has made it clear that he is still free to release his returns and would not hold it against him, but Trump has not even been willing to release returns from 2008 and before — returns that are not under audit. The last time Trump did reveal his tax filing, in a report by gaming regulators, the documents showed he did not pay a dollar in federal income tax.
In May, Trump was asked to reveal just his tax rate, but told a reporter it was “none of your business.” Trump added that he did not believe voters have a right to see his returns, but that “When the audit ends, I’m going to present them. That should be before the election. I hope it’s before the election.”
In recent weeks, Trump’s son Donald Jr. completely contradicted Trump’s stated reasoning, revealing perhaps the real reason the campaign is remaining steadfastly opaque: “[Trump Sr. has] got a 12,000-page tax return that would create … financial auditors out of every person in the country asking questions that would detract from [the campaign’s] main message.”
Moderator Lester Holt asked Trump, “So it’s negotiable?” He responded that it was not.