Donald Trump said in the debate Monday that he would release his tax returns if Hillary Clinton would release the 33,000 emails deleted from the private email server she used as secretary of state.
The New York billionaire has refused to release his tax returns, citing his lawyers’ advice not to because he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, despite unrelenting pressure to do so from the news media and the Clinton campaign.
“We have a situation in this country that needs to be taken care of. I will release my tax returns against my lawyers’ wishes when she releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted,” Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, said to cheers from the audience.
“As soon as she releases them, I will release my tax returns and that’s against my lawyers. They say, ‘Don’t do it,’” he said.
The debate moderator, NBC News anchor Lester Holt, admonished the audience for applauding before pressing Mr. Trump about his willingness to release his income tax returns.
“So, it’s negotiable,” he asked.
“Negotiable? No. Let her release the 33,000 email,” responded Mr. Trump.
While Mr. Trump has been pressured from the news media and the Clinton campaign to release his taxes, Mrs. Clinton has weathered harsh criticism and ongoing suspicion about her secret email setup as secretary of state, which skirted open-records laws. Nearly two years after leaving office, she turned over about 30,000 email she identified as work-related but deleted another 33,000 she deemed personal.
Mrs. Clinton did not address the email issue when resounding to Mr. Trump by accusing him of hiding something.
“You’ve got to ask yourself why he won’t release his tax returns? I think there is a couple of reasons. First, maybe he isn’t as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he isn’t as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings but we are told through investigative reporting that he owes about 650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks,” she said.
“Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes because the only years that anyone has ever seen is the couple years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed that he didn’t pay any income taxes,” said Mrs. Clinton.