US 2016 ELECTIONS

Trump may have avoided paying taxes

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Donald Trump declared a $916-million loss on his 1995 income tax return, allowing him to legally avoid paying taxes for decades, The New York Times reported late Saturday.

The sensitive issue is important because Trump has refused to release his tax records, as US presidential candidates customarily do in the interest of transparency.

Trump’s previously undisclosed 1995 tax records show “the extraordinary tax benefits” that Trump “derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan,” the paper reported.

While Trump’s taxable income in the following years is unknown, “a $916-million loss in 1995 would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years,” the report said.


The Trump campaign issued a statement that did not address the $916-million loss.

“Mr. Trump is a highly skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required,” the statement said.

“That being said, Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes,” it added, giving no specifics.

The campaign attacked the newspaper as “an extension of the Clinton Campaign, the Democratic Party and their global special interests.”

Bill to be dragged
Trump is going on the offensive, indicating in a new interview that he’s ready to drag ex-president Bill Clinton’s sex scandals into the White House campaign, after Democrats lashed out at the billionaire’s Twitter rant against a pro-Hillary ex-Miss Universe.

Trump told The New York Times that he believes talking about the sex scandals that stained the career of Hillary’s husband Bill would turn female voters away from her.

“She’s nasty, but I can be nastier than she ever can be,” Trump told the newspaper in an interview posted late Friday. AFP

He added: “Hillary Clinton was married to the single greatest abuser of women in the history of politics,” referring to Bill Clinton (president 1993-2001).

“Hillary was an enabler, and she attacked the women who Bill Clinton mistreated afterward. I think it’s a serious problem for them, and it’s something that I’m considering talking about more in the near future,” he told the newspaper.

In an apparent effort to pre-empt the attacks, the Clinton campaign released audio of Bill Clinton talking about his marriage with Hillary.

“I think that she has literally spent a lifetime dealing with not only her joys and her blessings, but also heartbreaks and disappointment, and sometimes unfair treatment,” a reflective Bill says.

‘Unhinged’
Hillary Clinton, campaigning in Florida on Saturday, described Trump as “unhinged” after the Republican presidential candidate unleashed a volley of pre-dawn tweets early Friday against former beauty queen Alicia Machado.

The Venezuela-born Machado claims the billionaire bullied her mercilessly after winning the Trump-owned Miss Universe beauty pageant in 1996.

“Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a US citizen so she could use her in the debate?” said Trump, in one of a series of virulent tweets.

According to the fact-checking website Snopes, Trump’s sex tape allegation apparently refers to Machado’s appearance on a reality TV show in which she is shown in bed, under covers, with another participant.

Machado also appeared in Playboy magazine. But a pornographic video circulated in recent years purporting to star the former Miss Universe was debunked as a fake.

Clinton, who mentioned Machado in the debate, has blasted Trump’s history of abusive remarks that included humiliating the ex-beauty queen over her weight gain and Latina origins, nicknaming her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”

“Who gets up at three in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe?” Clinton asked supporters in Florida on Friday.

“His latest Twitter meltdown is unhinged, even for him,” she said.

Trump was unapologetic. “For those few people knocking me for tweeting at three o’clock in the morning, at least you know I will be there, awake, to answer the call!” he wrote.

Separately, the website Buzzfeed posted a clip from a 2000 soft porn Playboy video in which Trump welcomes playmates to New York.

In the clip Trump opens the door of a limousine as the models emerge. He then pops a bottle of champagne, and a splash of fizzy liquid lands on the Playboy bunny logo.

The Clinton campaign pounced on the story.

“There’s been a lot of talk about sex tapes today and in a strange turn of events, only one adult film has showed up today and it’s star is Donald J. Trump,” wrote Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill.

‘Bad press’
Also out late Friday was a video deposition from June in which Trump acknowledged that he lost business after disparaging Mexicans at the start of his campaign.

Trump appears answering questions relating to a lawsuit involving celebrity chefs Jeffrey Zakarian and Jose Andres, who pulled out of a deal to work at the real estate magnate’s new Washington, D.C. hotel because of the candidate’s comments.

The Macy’s department store and the Spanish-language Univision network cut ties with Trump after his tirade.

Trump acknowledged that “a few bad days of press” came after his statement, and a loss of some business.

“I don’t know how I can quantify it, but I think we were hurt,” he said.

The video was released at the request of several media outlets despite opposition from the Trump campaign.

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