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Donald Trump was asked point blank during Sunday’s presidential debate by CNN moderator Anderson Cooper whether he used loopholes stemming from a near $1 billion loss reported in his 1995 tax returns to avoid paying federal income taxes.
“Of course I do,” Trump said. “And so do all of her donors, or most of her donors.”
“I understand the tax code better than anybody that’s ever run for president,” he continued. “I pay tax and federal tax too. I have write offs. A lot is depreciation.”
A recent New York Times report revealed he suffered a $916 million loss in 1995 and could have avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years.
Trump previously argued that he “brilliantly used” US tax law “to pay no more tax than I am legally required.”
Trump’s campaign previously neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of The Times report on his taxes, which came after a reporter was mailed three pages of Trump’s 1995 tax returns.
Instead, a campaign statement accused The Times of “illegally” publishing the returns and praised Trump for using the tax code to his advantage, a line that Trump’s surrogates repeated. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and others insisted that Trump was a “genius” for taking advantage of the tax codes.