Despite facing a wave of criticism over the revelation that he may not have paid federal income taxes for 18 years, Donald Trump will not be releasing his tax returns to clear up lingering questions.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate, continued to argue on Sunday that Trump was prohibited from making those returns public because he was under audit.
“He’s going to produce the returns when the audit is finished so that everything is clarified so that people can’t misinterpret what he did,” Giuliani said. “Remember, this man has been audited every year. Never once has a criminal charge been brought against him, never once has he been accused of violating the law. He operates. He understands the law. He operates within it. And he also understands, on the other side, how he can get sued if he doesn’t take advantage of these benefits.”
Trump may be under audit, but he has not provided evidence yet to confirm as much. Nor is someone under audit prohibited from releasing his past tax returns, though lawyers do caution against it.
Following a report on Saturday night that Trump had lost $916 million in 1995 and may have used that loss to avoid federal income taxes for nearly the next two decades, it was speculated that Trump would feel compelled to release his tax returns to show exactly which taxes he did or did not pay.
Giuliani’s comments show that the campaign continues to see more of the downside than the upside in that act of transparency.