A top Trump campaign aide says that the candidate will not be releasing his tax return information ahead of the election.
Paul Manafort, campaign chief for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, discussed the growing controversy around Trump’s tax returns on CBS This Morning on July 27, reports The Hill.
“Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them,” Manafort stated.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has criticized Trump’s refusal to release his returns, saying, “So you’ve got to ask yourself, why doesn’t he want to release them?”
Speculation that Trump is trying to hide specific information on his returns has grown in recent weeks. During Fox News’ Special Report on the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, George Will, a conservative columnist, suggested that Trump was withholding his tax returns because they would show that he is “deeply involved with Russian oligarchs.”
Speaking with CBS, Manafort dismissed the rumors that Trump wanted to hide investments in Russia, which have been growing in response to speculation that the WikiLeaks release of DNC emails was connected to Russian hackers.
“So to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?” Norah O’Donnell asked Manafort.
“That’s what he said, that’s what I said, that’s obviously what our position is,” said Manafort, who emphasized that Trump’s refusal to release the returns “has nothing to do with any country other than the United States and its normal tax auditing process.”
“For the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia,” Trump tweeted the day before the interview.
Trump was called on to release his tax returns early on in the primary campaign, said NJ.com. In February, former Republican nominee Mitt Romney called on Trump to release his returns, saying that doing so was a necessary qualification for running for president and suggesting that Trump’s returns contained a “bombshell” that he wanted to hide.
In a primary debate the following day, Trump stated, “As far as my return, I want to file it except for many years, I’ve been audited every year.” According to The New York Times, Trump stated a number of times that he would release his returns when the audit was complete, but now campaign aides say that there are no plans to release the information ahead of the election.
The release of tax returns is not a legal requirement for the presidency, but all major party nominees have released tax information since 1976.