Trump: "No, I Don't Owe Russia Money," $400 Million Debt Is "A Peanut" Compared To My Properties | Video | RealClearPolitics

Trump: "No, I Don't Owe Russia Money," $400 Million Debt Is "A Peanut" Compared To My Properties

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NBC's Savannah Guthrie again asked President Trump at a Thursday town hall about "New York Times" reporting that he owes roughly $400 million, some of which might be owed to foreign banks such as Deutsche Bank.

Trump essentially confirmed the veracity of that reporting, but noted that compared to the total value of all of his properties, $400 million is "peanuts."

"Did you ever hear the expression underleveraged?" Trump asked.


GUTHRIE: On the subject--

TRUMP: Thank you.

GUTHRIE: -- of taxes as you know The New York Times has obtained. It says years of your tax returns among other things. It says that you have debts of approximately $421 million that you have personally--

TRUMP: Yes.

GUTHRIE: -- guaranteed and that will come due in the next four years. The question is on behalf of voters who do you owe $421 million to?

TRUMP: OK. First of all, let me answer. What they did is illegal, number one. Also the numbers are all wrong with the numbers they released. And just so you understand when you have a lot of real estate. I have real estate. You know a lot of it, OK, right down the road, Doral, big stuff, great stuff.

I’m very under -- when I decided to run I’m very under levered fortunately but I’m very under levered. I have a very, very small percentage of debt compared -- in fact some of it I did as favors to institutions that wanted to loan me money.

$400 million compared to the assets that I have all of these great properties all over the world and frankly the Bank of America building in San Francisco. I don’t love what’s happening to San Francisco.

GUTHRIE: Well do I hear you right it sounds like you’re saying--

TRUMP: 1290 Avenue (inaudible) one of the biggest--

GUTHRIE: $400 million isn’t that much.

TRUMP: -- office buildings.

GUTHRIE: But are you confirming that, yes, you do owe sum $400 million?

TRUMP: What I’m saying is that it’s a tiny percentage of my net worth.

GUTHRIE: That sounds like yes.

TRUMP: And you will see that soon because we’re doing things. We’ve given -- I think it's 108 or 112 pages of financial detail to elections and we have to file as the president. As any politician you have to file. Nobody ever looks at that.

When they do they see how incredible a company is but more importantly they see where this debt is. No, I don’t owe Russia money, I don’t owe -- I owe a very, very small -- it’s called mortgages. People have a house, they put a mortgage --

GUTHRIE: Yes. Any foreign bank, any foreign entity?

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. I want to say two things.

Number one, it’s a very small amount of money. Number two, it’s very straight -- it’s very, very straight but it’s a tiny percentage of the work. Did you ever hear the expression under levered.

GUTHRIE: Yes.

TRUMP: I am extremely under levered.

GUTHRIE: Well, here’s the thing, you could clear this up tonight by just releasing your tax returns yourself. I mean that’s what I don’t understand.

TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what --

GUTHRIE: I think people are just wondering, you’re the only --

TRUMP: As you know, I’m under audit. It turned out that I am under audit.

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: Yes, but the IRS said -- you are --

TRUMP: They actually -- excuse me. No, no, but you --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: But the IRS says that doesn’t stop you from releasing.

TRUMP: But you accused me of not being under audit previously and so did other people at NBC and I am under audit.

GUTHRIE: You are.

TRUMP: So that was solved. That’s what -- I am under audit. No person in their right mind would release prior to working out the deal with the IRS. And I’ll go a step further. I’m treated very badly by the IRS. They treat me very, very badly.

You have people in there from previous administrations that treat me very badly. But we’re under audit. It’s very routine in many ways but we’re under audit. They like to change the game, change the rules, do everything.

You saw what they did with the Tea Party people. You saw what they did with the religious groups.

GUTHRIE: But to be clear, there is no law or rule that prohibits you from releasing your tax returns.

TRUMP: No, except common sense and intelligence and having lawyers that say -- because I would love to release them, and as soon as we come to a conclusion I will release them and very gladly.

But if you go to elections and if you take a look you’ll see 112 -- I think its 112, it talks about the income, which is rather massive. It talks about all of the properties, they have them listed. You can never learn more.

But you know what happened; people went there, all the reporters went there. It was like a feeding frenzy. This was originally when I filed it. And I file it every year. I update it every year. My son is here, they run the company. I don’t run the company. You know -- you know --

(CROSSTALK)

GUTHRIE: It also says that you paid $750 in taxes in the year you were elected. Is that true or not?

TRUMP: Yes, because that’s a statutory number. It’s a statutory -- it’s not that --

GUTHRIE: But is that true?

TRUMP: I think it’s a filing number. You pay $750, it’s a filing -- or a filing fee.

GUTHRIE: But is that all you paid because most people here probably paid more?

TRUMP: No, I don’t know. I can’t tell you this, if they have my tax returns, as you know, they have to go to jail. It’s illegal. But their numbers were wrong. But let me tell you what else. I don’t owe money to any of these sinister people.

This has been going on for years now. Russia, Russia, Russia. It turned out to be a hoax and it turned out to be that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were dealing with Russia, not me. It’s a whole hoax. So I would not mind at all saying who it is but it’s very small.

When you look at vast properties like I have and they’re big and they’re beautiful and they’re well located, when you look at that the amount of money, $400 million is a peanut. It’s extremely under levered. And it’s levered with normal banks, not a big deal.
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