House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday said that a report claiming President Donald Trump paid $750 in taxes and had millions of dollars in debt is a “national security” issue.
“This president appears to have over $400 million in debt,” she said in a televised interview, referring to a report from the New York Times. “To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have?” she asked.
“So for me, this is a national security question,” Pelosi said. “The fact that you could have a sitting president who owes hundreds of millions of dollars that he’s personally guaranteed to lenders, and we don’t know who these lenders are,” she said, again suggesting without evidence that Trump is indebted to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“What does Putin have on the president politically? Personally? Financially?” she asked, without elaborating.
On Sunday evening, when Trump was asked about the NY Times report, he described it as “fake news.”
“It’s fake news. It’s totally fake news,” Trump told reporters.
“Made up. Fake,” he added.
The NY Times reported that Trump paid the sum in the year he won the presidency and in his first year in the Oval Office. The paper said it obtained the long-sought-after tax information for the president, alleging that he paid no federal income taxes in 11 of the 18 years it examined, saying he suffered overall financial losses.
The president said he’s unable to release his financial records because he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
“It’s under audit. They’ve been under audit for a long time,” he said. “The IRS does not treat me well.”
Such information will be released in due time, he said before adding that it will only be done when the IRS audit is completed.
Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten issued a statement to the NY Times about the reporting, saying that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”
“Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” Garten told the liberal-leaning news outlet.
Over the past four years, news outlets and various Democratic officials at the state and Congressional level have tried to get Trump’s tax returns.