— -- Following the first vice-presidential debate, the Republican nominee's son is attempting to put one issue to rest; taxes. Eric Trump is defending his father, saying the real estate mogul has "absolutely" paid federal income tax.
In an interview on CNN, the younger Trump was asked if his father has paid federal income tax within the last 18 years. In a recent story, the New York Times suggested that based on a reported $916 million loss in 1995, Trump could have avoided paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades.
"Of course, yes, absolutely. My father pays a tremendous amount of tax, we as a company pay a tremendous amount of tax," Eric Trump responded. The Trump team has said the returns obtained by the Times were obtained illegally and that Trump has paid hundreds of millions in other types of taxes.
But as Trump was pushed later in the interview, he seemed to be referring to taxes the Trump Corporation pays, not taxes paid by Donald Trump himself.
"My father pays a tremendous amount of tax, as a company, as a company we pay a tremendous amount of tax and goes so far beyond federal income taxes. How about real estate taxes? How about employment taxes? How about sales tax? How about every other type of tax that goes into that? We pay a tremendous amount of tax as a company that is very very very different than Hillary Clinton who has lived off the government for the last 40 years," Trump says.
The elder Trump has come under intense scrutiny after the Times report. During his first debate with Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, Trump seemed to intimate that he hadn't paid federal income tax.
During the debate Clinton went on the attack. "Because the only years that anybody has ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license and they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax," she said.
"That makes me smart," Trump interjected.
Since then, Trump has deflected when asked specifically about paying federal income tax.
In an interview on Fox News the day after the debate, Trump said, "What she said is maybe you paid no taxes. I said well that would make me very smart. I have to tell you something, tax is a big expense. I wouldn't mind paying taxes a lot less if our politicians knew how to spend the money but they don't."
Trump, breaking tradition with every major party candidate since 1976, has not released his tax returns, citing an audit. The IRS has said that their audit does not prevent him from releasing his returns.