Donald Trump may have very good reason for not releasing his tax returns, according to a New York Times bombshell that shows the candidate took a nearly $1 billion loss in 1995—amid the "financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos," a failed airline and "ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel"—that could well have let Trump off the hook for federal income taxes for an equivalent amount of income over as many as 18 years. The Times obtained three pages from what appear to be Trump's returns, mailed anonymously from New York City with a return address of Trump Tower; the paper hired tax experts to examine the pages. Trump doesn't appear to dispute the report, notes Politico; the candidate tweeted Sunday morning: "I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing@nytimes." A former Trump accountant, named as the tax preparer in the papers, confirms their authenticity.
The Times' report is not without consequence, notes the Washington Post: Federal law prohibits the publication of unauthorized tax returns, and the Times could well face legal trouble as a result. "Dean Baquet wasn't bluffing," writes the Post, noting that the Times' executive editor said publicly last month he would risk jail to publish Trump's tax returns because his "whole campaign is built on his success as a businessman and his wealth." It's not clear if the Times was already in possession of the documents when Baquet spoke. Team Trump, meanwhile, released a statement dismissing the Times as "an extension of the Clinton campaign," and praising Trump as "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 Times report is here. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)