Trump Slams NYT Article on Family’s Tax Practices as ‘Hit Piece’

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump dismissed allegations in a New York Times story that he had received vastly more money from his father than previously admitted -- in possible violation of tax laws -- as “very old” and “boring.”

Trump blasted the article as a “hit piece” and said he had “never seen” the accounting practices utilized by the newspaper in its reporting.

“The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “They used the concept of ‘time value of money’ in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me.”

The time-value of money, a basic financial concept, means that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future. That’s because it can be invested today and create more money in the future. The Times analysis, however, largely relied on a different concept -- a basic adjustment for inflation.

Trump appeared to be criticizing the Times’ reporting that found he received the equivalent of at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father, the late real estate developer Fred Trump, who died in 1999. Donald Trump has long claimed he only received a $1 million gift from his father and that he repaid it with interest.

The president’s tweet was the latest from Trump and his team attacking the newspaper over the report without specifically refuting claims about the findings, which included that Fred Trump backstopped his son’s businesses during times of financial distress. The article also questioned the legality of some of the tax practices used.

“The New York Times’ allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false,” Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for President Trump, said in a statement. “There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate.”

New York state tax authorities have opened an investigation into the allegations reported in the New York Times that Trump and his family created their real estate empire through “instances of outright fraud,” evading taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a statement released Tuesday night, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “Fred Trump has been gone for nearly 20 years and it’s sad to witness this misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times.” She added that “many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions.”

The top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Ron Wyden, said in a statement he plans to try again to invoke a little-used law that allows chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees to review private tax returns and release them to the full chamber. Wyden requested Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch evaluate Trump’s tax returns last year but was rebuffed.

“I’m going to make the same request next Congress whether Senate Democrats are in the majority or the minority,” said Wyden, who would be the Finance Committee chairman if Democrats control the Senate next year.

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