CNN’s Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer repeatedly pressed Eric Trump on Tuesday over whether his father paid federal income taxes during the past two decades.
In an interview shortly after the vice-presidential debate in Virginia, Bash asked Trump about a copy of Donald Trump’s taxes showing that the Republican presidential nominee could have avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years, asking whether the Trump campaign could “just put this to rest.”
“We pay a tremendous amount of taxes,” Eric Trump responded.
When the younger Trump attempted to pivot, casting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s public service career against his father’s work as a businessman, Bash interjected.
“Eric, my question, though: Has your father paid federal income taxes over the past 18 years?” Bash asked.
Trump reiterated his claim that the Trump Organization paid a “tremendous amount of taxes.” He said his father would release his taxes once the Internal Revenue Service has concluded an audit and slammed Clinton’s refusal to release transcripts of private speeches given to financial firms after she served as secretary of state.
“Eric, I’m pretty impressed, quite frankly,” Bash said. “You haven’t been in politics long, but you’re doing the pivot quite well. If you could just put a button on this: Have you seen your father’s tax returns?”
“I don’t study our tax returns – that’s why you have an accountant,” Trump responded.
“But have you seen them?” Bash asked. “You’re confident that he’s paid federal taxes?”
“I’m answering the question,” Trump said. “Of course I’ve seen my father’s tax returns.”
Blitzer also jumped in, noting that the Republican presidential nominee had not released older tax returns either.
“Why not release that tax returns that are no longer under audit?” Blitzer said.
Trump said he was unaware of tax returns that were not under audit and characterized the line of questioning as “a whole distraction.”
The line of questions came after the two major-party running mates, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, sparred over Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns as well as revelations that the real-estate magnate could have avoided paying taxes for 18 years after reporting a $916 million loss in 1995.
Watch the exchange below:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October5, 2016