President Trump was losing staggering amounts of money during the years he was building a reputation as a business genius, reports the New York Times, which says it has obtained printouts of Trump's tax transcripts from 1985 to 1994. During the years in question, Trump's core businesses, including hotels and casinos, lost a total of $1.17 billion and he posted bigger losses than almost any other individual American taxpayer, according to the transcripts. The Times reports that according to the annual IRS sampling of high-income earners, Trump posted losses of more than $250 million in 1990 and 1991, more than double those of any other taxpayer listed—and because of the losses, Trump only paid income tax in two of the 10 years in question.
Trump has blamed his business losses on the recession that started in 1990, though the figures show that he was already losing a lot of money by 1987, when The Art of the Deal was published, the Times notes. The newspaper says it did not obtain Trump's actual tax returns, but obtained printouts of the official IRS tax transcripts from "someone who had legal access to them." Trump lawyer Charles Harder tells the Times that the information is "highly inaccurate," though the newspaper says similar transcripts for Trump's father, Fred Trump, match his tax returns. The Times notes that Trump was able to keep up his billionaire lifestyle despite the losses because most of the money belonged not to him, but to banks and investors—and because he "secretly leaned on his father's wealth to continue living like a winner." (Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin has told Democrats he won't provide them with Trump's more recent tax returns.)