NY Times Reporters Brush Off Lawsuit Threat Over Trump Tax Story

Monday, October 3, 2016

Two of the New York Times reporters who wrote a story on three pages from Donald Trump's 1995 tax returns reportedly showing he declared a $916 million loss said they aren't worried about being sued for publishing the tax document.

"Last time I checked it wasn't a crime to check your mailbox," Times reporter Susanne Craig told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview.

Craig said she received a package in her mailbox at the Times last Friday with the return address shown as Trump Tower.

"I opened it, and there was several pages of Donald Trump's tax returns in it," said Craig, who was interviewed along with fellow Times reporter David Barstow on ABC's "This Week.

The Times article says that a lawyer for Trump, Marc E. Kasowitz, emailed a letter to the Times warning that publication of the records is illegal because the Republican nominee has not authorized the disclosure of any of his tax returns. "Mr. Kasowitz threatened 'prompt initiation of appropriate legal action,'" the Times reported.

Barstow said the Times is confident in the authenticity of the tax records.

He said he traveled to Florida to meet with Jack Mitnick, who served as Trump's primary accountant for decades. Barstow said Mitnick told him the forms were legitimate.

The Times also showed the document to tax experts, who indicated that the huge loss in 1995 would have allowed Trump in subsequent years to earn profits equivalent to the size of the loss without paying taxes on the earnings.

"One of our tax experts told us that if one of his clients came to him with this tax return, what he would say to that client is effectively, 'Congratulations, you can earn up to $916 million and not pay a nickel in taxes,'" Barstow said.

Trump's campaign responded to the story in a statement that did not confirm or deny the validity of the documents the Times posted.

"Mr. Trump is a highly-skilled businessman who has a fiduciary responsibility to his business, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required," the statement said. "Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President and he is the only one that knows how to fix it."

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