Clin­ton tears into Trump on taxes

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Ken Thomas and Jonathan Lemire

TOLEDO, OHIO >> Hil­lary Clin­ton tore into Don­ald Trump’s tax his­tory, busi­ness acu­men and trust­wor­thi­ness Mon­day as she sought to cap­i­tal­ize on news that the New York real es­tate mogul may not have paid fed­eral taxes for years — one of sev­eral rev­e­la­tions that rat­tled the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date’s cam­paign.

Cam­paign­ing at a down­town Toledo train sta­tion, Clin­ton cast Trump as a cold-hearted and bungling busi­ness­man who “rep­re­sents the same rigged sys­tem that he claims he’s go­ing to change.” She called for a new law re­quir­ing pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates from ma­jor par­ties to re­lease their tax re­turns, some­thing Trump has re­fused to do, and she ac­cused Trump of shirk­ing his re­spon­si­bil­ity as a tax­payer.

“He’s taken cor­po­rate ex­cess and made a busi­ness model out of it,” she said. “It’s Trump first and everyone else last.”

The Demo­crat’s broad­side was her first re­sponse to a week­end New York Times report that Trump claimed a loss of nearly $916 mil­lion in a sin­gle year on his per­sonal in­come taxes. The Times said the size of the loss could have al­lowed Trump to avoid ow­ing fed­eral taxes for nearly two decades, an as­ser­tion his cam­paign nei­ther con­firmed nor dis­puted.

Trump made no ref­er­ence to the tax trou­ble at an event with vet­er­ans in Vir­ginia Mon­day, but at a later event he said he had paid as lit­tle taxes “as legally pos­si­ble” as was his duty as the head of a ma­jor real es­tate com­pany.

He also dis­patched sev­eral sur­ro­gates to mount his de­fense. His al­lies noted the Times report did not al­lege wrong­do­ing and they con­tended the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date was a “ge­nius” for us­ing the tax sys­tem to re­build his for­tune.

The Clin­ton cam­paign seized on the com­ment with a new TV ad, ask­ing “If not pay­ing taxes makes him smart, what does that make the rest of us?”

In her re­marks, a lengthy out­line of her eco­nomic prin­ci­ples, Clin­ton mocked: “What kind of ge­nius loses a bil­lion dol­lars in a sin­gle year?”

Other Trump trou­bles mounted. Former cast and crew mem­bers from the re­al­ity TV show “The Ap­pren­tice” de­scribed for the first time his treat­ment of women on the set. The show in­sid­ers told The As­so­ci­ated Press that Trump rated fe­male con­tes­tants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he’d like to have sex with.

The cam­paign is­sued a broad de­nial, call­ing the claims “to­tally false.”

Also Mon­day, the New York at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice or­dered the Trump Foun­da­tion to im­me­di­ately stop fundrais­ing in the state, say­ing it isn’t reg­is­tered to do so.

The back-to-back bad news piled on a week of Trump mis­steps and his in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive per­sonal at­tacks on Clin­ton. Since a rocky de­bate last week, Trump has en­gaged in a dis­tract­ing feud with a former beauty queen he called “Miss Piggy” be­cause she gained weight dur­ing her reign. He seemed to try to shift the con­ver­sa­tion Satur­day night when he sug­gested, with­out ev­i­dence, that Clin­ton may have cheated on her hus­band.

Trump’s cam­paign is search­ing for a way to rat­tle Clin­ton — while also get­ting con­trol of its own mes­sage. The new rev­e­la­tions only make that harder. While the in­com­plete tax records pub­lished the Times show no ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, the size of Trump’s loss cuts at a core tenet of his pres­i­den­tial bid — his re­mark­able busi­ness suc­cess. Mean­while, his boor­ish com­ments to women are threat­en­ing to turn away fe­male |vot­ers.

Trump was more dis­ci­plined Mon­day at a fo­rum hosted by the Re­tired Amer­i­can War­riors PAC.

Seiz­ing an op­por­tu­nity he missed on the de­bate stage last week, Trump went af­ter Clin­ton’s com­mit­ment to fight­ing cy­ber­se­cu­rity threats and pointed to her use of a pri­vate, email server when she served as sec­re­tary of state.

He said Clin­ton’s han­dling of clas­si­fied emails on the server makes her “to­tally un­fit” for the Oval Of­fice. He said he would make cy­ber­se­cu­rity an “im­me­di­ate and top pri­or­ity.”

“To truly make Amer­ica safe, we must make cy­ber­se­cu­rity a ma­jor pri­or­ity — which I don’t be­lieve we’re do­ing right now — for both gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sector,” Trump said. The Repub­li­can nom­i­nee was to hold two ral­lies in Colorado later Mon­day, and his cam­paign said he would ac­cuse Clin­ton of us­ing the State De­part­ment and the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion to enrich her fam­ily.

But Trump’s taxes dom­i­nated the con­ver­sa­tion.

In a story pub­lished over the week­end, the Times said it re­ceived the first pages of Trump’s 1995 state in­come tax fil­ings in New York, New Jersey and Con­necti­cut from an anony­mous per­son. The fil­ings show a net loss of $915,729,293 in fed­eral tax­able in­come for the year — losses of a mag­ni­tude that they might have al­lowed Trump to avoid pay­ing taxes for years.

His cam­paign said that Trump had paid “hun­dreds of mil­lions” of dol­lars in other kinds of taxes over the years, and Trump sup­port­ers noted the story did not al­lege any il­le­gal tax dodg­ing.

AN­DREW HARNIK — AP PHOTO

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton greets a mem­ber of the au­di­ence as she ar­rives at a rally at the Down­town Toledo Train Sta­tion in Toledo, Ohio, on Mon­day.

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