— CNN (@CNN) October 2, 2016
During a Sunday appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources, New York Times reporter Susanne Craig played coy when asked by host Brian Stelter whether the paper had access to more of Donald Trump’s tax documents. Craig said the paper would be doing “a lot of reporting” surrounding the Republican nominee’s alleged avoidance of income tax payments. When pressed by Stelter, she said, “That may be a ‘no comment.'” She then laughed.
As Craig writes in the Times today, in late September she received in the mail documents that appeared to be Trump’s 1995 tax returns. The forms were revealed in a bombshell piece. The documents, verified by experts including the original preparer, were filed jointly with Trump’s then-wife Marla Maples and claim a net operating loss of nearly $916 million. As tax experts hired by the Times confirm, that net operating loss would allow Trump to cancel out an equivalent amount in taxable income over an 18-year-period, during which he could conceivably have paid zero dollars in income tax. The Trump campaign has threatened legal action against the Times but has not disputed the veracity of the documents.
Breaking with tradition, Trump has declined to disclose his income tax returns as part of his presidential bid. He has repeatedly cited an ongoing IRS audit, though IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has gone on record saying that the audit would not preclude Trump from releasing his returns. That the real estate mogul might have skirted income tax payments has long been a theory as to why he has kept his documents under wraps. During the first presidential debate, Trump responded to the allegation by saying such actions would merely make him “smart.”
Craig and the Times are not alone in hinting at shoes still to fall. Late on Saturday, Republican strategist and Trump surrogate Roger Stone posted a message to his Twitter page suggesting an upcoming revelation about Hillary Clinton: