Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump fielded questions from co-host George Stephanopoulos about his releasing his tax returns to the public.
During that interview, Stephanopoulos insisted Trump could release those taxes, despite being audited by the Internal Revenue Service. Trump argued there was a double standard when it came to his tax returns and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s emails.
However, as Stephanopoulos continued to press Trump on the issue, Trump fired back by pointing out Stephanopoulos’ prior relationship with the Bill and Hillary Clinton and noted it was something he didn’t reveal.
Partial transcript as follows:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about your tax return. Under new pressure from the Clinton campaign, Secretary Clinton talking about that the last couple of days. I just have a bottom line question for you. Yes or no, do you believe voters have a right to see your tax returns before they make a final decision?
TRUMP: I don’t think they do. But I do say this, I will really gladly give them — not going to learn anything but it’s under routine audit. When the audit ends I’ll present them. That should be before the election. I hope it’s before the election. But when the audit ends I’ve had even journalists say that, no, nobody should give until audits are over and have had journalists say that. So I think if there’s no — I sort of have to laugh when Clinton says it, Mrs. Clinton said I should give my tax what about all the emails or missing Goldman Sachs speeches. When is she going to give that? Very great hypocrite but as far as I’m concerned I want to give it as soon as possible, as soon as the audit every year — I have wealthy friends that never get audited.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know the audit is no excuse. The IRS has made it very clear an audit is not a bar to public release. It is entirely your choice. President Nixon released his tax returns even though he was under audit. And when you were seeking a casino license in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you released the returns to the state officials even though you were under audit.
TRUMP: I am under audit now and as soon as the audit ends I’ll release my returns. If you look at many others, many others feel the same way and almost every lawyer will tell you the same thing –when you’re under audit you finish the audit before you release. I have no problem and it should be and I hope it’s before the election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But sir, if you were willing –
TRUMP: By the way, people will learn nothing. I put in financials 100 pages worth of financials that show that I built a company that’s worth more than $10 billion. It shows cash. It shows cash flows. Returns but nevertheless, when the audit is complete, i will release. I have no problem with it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A couple of follow-ups to that. If you are willing to release your tax returns to get a casino license, why shouldn’t voters see them before they make you commander in chief?
TRUMP: well, because at the time it didn’t make a ny if you take a look at the picture that we sent you with a tax returns probably ten feet high when you stack them on top and lengthy and complex. I built a massive business and want to make sure that everything is perfect. It a routine audit and get through it first and that’s what I’ll do. There have been many presidents that have not shown their tax returns.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Actually every single nominee before 1976 –
TRUMP: Before 1976, people didn’t do it. It used to be a secret thing. I don’t want it to be secret, but I do want the audit to get finished.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Before that Richard Nixon released his returns as I said, but to get to your point on the one hand you show that stack and on the other hand you say people can’t learn anything. They can actually learn quite a lot. They can learn your sources of income. They can learn whether you have any foreign sources of income or any Swiss bank accounts or other offshore accounts. Do you?
TRUMP: I tell you right now, I do not. I do not have Swiss bank accounts. I don’t have offshore — I really have a very, very clean company. And believe me, if i didn’t, it would have been reported by 200 groups because there’s nobody that has more reporting or more scrutiny than I have. I have given my financials, they’re extraordinary. And we would have read if they weren’t. But believe me when i release my financial, George and sent them down to Federal Elections, there was a feeding frenzy by the media and they reported, wow, that is a great company and I have built a great, great company and by the way, when you look at numbers, when you look at incomes, when you look at all of the things or most of the things you talked about that’s reported on the financials.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s not reported on the financials. What they don’t know also is your tax rate. they don’t show whether you paid a low –
TRUMP: I try very hard to pay as little tax as possible and have said that for the last two years. I fight very hard because this country wastes our money. They take our tax money and throw it down the drain. They spend $4 trillion in the Middle East and we can’t fix a road or a bridge. And I fight very hard. I consider it an expense because, frankly, our country doesn’t know what they’re doing with our money or tax money and that’s part of the problem. So I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?
TRUMP: It’s none of your business. You’ll see it when I release but I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, we’ve talked about this several times over the last several years. I first asked about it in 2011. You said you would release your tax returns then thinking of running for president when President Obama releases his birth certificate. He did. Then you said you would release your tax returns when Secretary Clinton releases her emails. She has turned over all emails in her possession.
TRUMP: There’s plenty of missing. I read yesterday that there were a lot of emails missing. I know you’re a good friends of hers and I know you worked for her, but you didn’t reveal it. But you know she did not turn over her emails. There are a lot of emails missing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There were emails from her staffers missing. She turned over –
TRUMP: There are emails missing all over the place. The whole thing is a scam. There are emails missing all over the place.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said then that you were just going through all of the returns and you will release them now you’re throwing up the audit.
TRUMP: I never said that at all. I said I will release them upon the completion of the audit like anybody else. I was interviewed last night or the other night by Greta Van Susteren, who is a lawyer. She said I happen to agree with you. Until then, you shouldn’t release them.
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