President Trump lashed out Wednesday at the New York Times, dismissing a long report about the vast extent to which his father had fueled his wealth with tax-avoidance schemes that at times amounted to fraud as both a “hit piece” and “boring.”
He also accused the newspaper of holding a grudge from the 2016 election.
The Times article, which was published online Tuesday afternoon, reported that Trump had participated in “dubious tax schemes” that allowed his father to pass him more than $413 million while minimizing tax payments.
“The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “They used the concept of ‘time value of money’ in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”
The New York Department of Taxation and Finance said Tuesday that it had begun reviewing the allegations detailed in the Times report, which in some cases amount to “outright fraud,” according to the paper.
The Times said it had examined more than 100,000 pages of documents from the businesses of Trump’s father, Fred Trump, and unraveled a complex effort by the elder Trump to build and then pass along his wealth.
It said that, starting in the 1990s, Donald Trump had helped his father lower his tax bills via a sham corporation that processed padded invoices, by using improper tax deductions and by systematically undervaluing his father’s real estate properties.
At a briefing later Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the Times story “a totally false attack based on an old, recycled news story.”
But she declined to identify any specific factual errors, instead referring reporters to statements made in the article by a lawyer for Trump.
“There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone,” Sanders asserted, adding that the one thing the report correctly conveyed is that Trump’s father “had a great deal of confidence in him.”
She said there are no immediate plans to release any of Trump’s tax returns, something Democrats have long said would help answer questions about the propriety of his business dealings.
Sanders said she would have to check to see whether Trump’s returns were still being audited. Trump campaign and White House officials have repeatedly cited audits as the reason Trump hasn’t released his returns, as has become custom in presidential races.
The concept of “time value of money,” which Trump referenced in his tweet, is the idea that money that is available at the present time is worth more than the same amount in the future, because of its potential earning capacity.
David A. Fahrenthold contributed to this report.