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Analysis: Donald Trump just revealed *a lot* more than he meant to about his tax returns

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

US President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during an NBC News town hall event at the Perez Art Museum in Miami on October 15, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is the only modern American president to never release any of his tax returns -- either while running for office or during his time in office. He's offered a series of explanations for why that is, including that he is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and that his taxes are too complicated for anyone to understand.

The questions surrounding Trump's tax returns have only grown more urgent in the wake of a series of New York Times articles based on copies of Trump's returns they were able to obtain, that suggest, among many other things, that Trump has paid little to no federal taxes in the last two decades and that he is personally responsible for more than $400 million in loans that come due over the next four years.

Which brings me to Thursday's town hall with Trump -- in which moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the President about his loans and his tax returns.

Guthrie: On the subject of taxes, as you know, The New York Times has obtained, it says, years of your tax returns among other things.

Trump: Yes. Guthrie: -- guaranteed and that will come due in the next four years.

Guthrie: Well do I hear you right, it sounds like you're saying--

Trump: Not that I know of but I will probably because it's so easy to solve and if you'd like to do -- I will let you know who -- who I owe whatever small amount of money.

Guthrie: Yes. Trump: I am extremely under levered.

Trump: As you know, I'm under audit.

Guthrie: It also says that you paid $750 in taxes in the year you were elected.

Trump: Yes, because that's a statutory number.

Trump: I think it's a filing number.

Trump: No, I don't know.

But when asked directly by Guthrie whether he owes $400 million, Trump responds: "What I'm saying is that it's a tiny percentage of my net worth. " To which Guthrie interjects "that sounds like yes. " Which, well, exactly.

While this isn't definitive proof that Trump does owe money to a foreign government or a foreign bank (or both) you would think that if he didn't owe money to one of these places, he would say it.

What you probably wouldn't think he would say is this: "Not that I know of but I will probably because it's so easy to solve and if you'd like to do -- I will let you know who -- who I owe whatever small amount of money. "

3) Trump is under audit (still).

(As Guthrie rightly notes, there is nothing in the law that says a president under audit can't release his taxes anyway; Richard Nixon did just that. ) Trump confirmed to Guthrie that he remains under audit as of Thursday night.

All but confirming the Times report regarding the meager amount he paid in taxes the year he was elected president, Trump told Guthrie that "you pay $750, it's a filing -- or a filing fee. " She followed up by asking whether that was all he paid that year in taxes.

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