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Trump lashes out at New York Times report alleging years of tax avoidance

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The New York Times obtained two decades of President Donald Trump’s tax information, reporting Sunday that the president paid only $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and again during his first year in office.

The Times, which said it plans to publish additional stories based on the documents, reported that Trump has not paid any income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, mostly because he reported significant losses. It reported that Trump is facing a decadelong Internal Revenue Service audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he received that could end up costing him more than $100 million.

The Times also reported that Trump has more than $300 million in loans coming due within the next few years that he is personally responsible for repaying.

The tax documents cover more than two decades, including some of his time as president, but they do not include his returns from 2018 and 2019. NBC News has not seen or verified any of the documents reported by The Times.

Trump said Sunday that the story was “totally fake news” and “made up,” although he acknowledged that he “didn’t know anything about the story” ahead of its publication, which came moments before his news conference began.

Asked about the report that he paid just $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and again in 2017, Trump said he has “paid a lot of money in state” taxes, although he was not specific about how much.

In response to the report, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted asking people to raise their hands “if you paid more in federal income tax than President Trump.”

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement that Trump “has gamed the tax code to his advantage and used legal fights to delay or avoid paying what he owes.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement, “It is a sign of President Trump’s disdain for America’s working families that he has spent years abusing the tax code while passing a GOP Tax Scam for the rich that gives 83 percent of the benefits to the wealthiest 1 percent.”

Trump again pledged to make his taxes public after the completion of an IRS audit, which he has said for years is why he is not making the documents public.

The Times reported that, boosted by a substantial increase in income tied to his celebrity in the 11 years after “The Apprentice” premiered, the president went on a spending spree unseen since the days before the demise of his finances of the early 1990s. But The Times said the documents revealed that the new ventures and acquisitions contributed to a drag on his bottom line rather than increased it.

In a statement to NBC News, a Trump Organization lawyer, Alan Garten, claimed that the story was “riddled with gross inaccuracies.”

“Over the past decade the President has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government,” Garten said.

While The Times reported that Trump did not pay income taxes for several years, he did pay other forms of federal taxes, including Medicare, Social Security and the alternative minimum tax.

The Times has previously reported about Trump’s tax information, having obtained such documents — although far fewer — earlier in Trump’s presidency.

Trump has waged a coast-to-coast legal battle throughout his presidency in hope of keeping the tax information hidden from the public. Trump is the only president in the past 40 years to have withheld his taxes from the public. No law requires presidents to make their taxes public.

Although he said he would release the information ahead of the 2016 election, he has since repeatedly cited IRS audits as a rationale for continuing to withhold his records.

This summer, Trump assailed a pair of Supreme Court rulings pertaining to his personal financial records, calling them “not fair,” although they were not clear-cut losses for the president.

Kelly O’Donnell contributed.



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Two weeks till Election Day, Democrats have a big lead in early voting

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But the vote totals, which are up more than 350 percent from this time in 2016, have caught the attention of party officials in many states, with state Democratic Parties saying the results are a return on investment.

“The Texas Democratic Party has put a lot of investment into ensuring that Texas turns blue, and we’re seeing this investment play out in real-time,” said Abhi Rahman, communications director for the Texas Democratic Party. “This is a good start but we have to continue to do the work. We’re not taking anything for granted.”

Texas Republicans see it differently, according to the state’s GOP communication director, Luke Twombly, who said, “We expect to see our share of the turnout percentage climb with each passing day.”

Tony Zammitt, communications director for Michigan’s Republican Party, thinks the party has an advantage over state Democrats due to door-knocking in numbers.

“We have a comprehensive strategy on getting out votes, focusing on absentee ballots but more on Election Day,” he said.

Zammitt also expects Republican voters to show up come Nov. 3.

“We feel pretty confident that when votes are counted that the Republican Party will be victorious,” he said.



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With two weeks to go, there are only two scheduled events left on the 2020 calendar

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WASHINGTON — We are officially two weeks out from Election Day, and we have only two scheduled events left on the calendar.

Thursday’s final debate and the Nov. 3 election.

That’s it.

Everything else seems stuck in place — like you’re on an amusement-park ride, and the only choices you have are getting on and getting off. And all of the rest is outside of your control.

That helps explain why the Trump campaign yesterday was so fixated on the topics and structure of Thursday’s debate — because they realize they have so few opportunities left to change the trajectory of the race.

Especially with millions of Americans having already voted.

Tweet of the day

The early vote and how to watch the election night returns

Approximately 30 million Americans have already voted in the 2020 election — representing about one-fifth of the estimated turnout — and we can safely conclude that a majority of them are Democrats.

Our most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found 59 percent of registered voters saying they plan to vote early (either by mail or in person), and that includes 76 percent of all Democratic voters, but just 42 percent of Republicans.

Conversely, 37 percent said they’d vote on Election Day, which includes 55 percent of Republicans, but just 20 percent of Democrats.

That disparity is likely going to influence how election night plays out as the votes get counted, because some states — including the key battlegrounds of Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — can’t begin counting absentee/mail-in votes until Election Day.

In other words: You can expect the day-of votes (which heavily lean Republican) to get counted before the early votes (which heavily lean Democratic).

Now Florida and North Carolina are big exceptions here — they can begin counting absentee/mail-in ballots early, and they have a history of counting quickly.

Still, be prepared for uneven ways the ballots are going to come in on election night/election week.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

8,259,935: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 67,496 more than yesterday morning.)

221,318: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 561 more than yesterday morning.)

126.03 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

26,257,381: The number of Americans who have voted early, either by mail or in person, according to NBC and TargetSmart

2 minutes: The time during each presidential candidate’s initial answers to each of six debate topic questions for which the opposite candidate will have their mic muted on Thursday, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

3 days: The number of days after Election Day when mail-in ballots that are received must be counted in Pennsylvania, per a new ruling by the Supreme Court.

52 percent: The share of Americans who say they don’t trust what Trump has said about his health after being diagnosed with Covid, according to a new NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll.

9 points: Biden’s lead over Trump in a new national NYT/Siena poll.

1 point: Biden’s lead in North Carolina, per a Washington Post/ABC poll, showing a dead heat in the Tar Heel State.

2020 Vision: All about that base

Here was Trump yesterday talking to the press when asked about voters who aren’t “at the rallies” and aren’t “folks watching Fox News”:

“I think that we’re winning over voters by having such a success. Look, our stock market is almost at the all-time high in our history. And that’s with a pandemic. And I know you don’t like saying this, but — and I believe we’re rounding the turn on the pandemic very substantially.”

And here’s what Trump told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie last Thursday when asked about voters in the middle wanting to know why they should give the president “a second chance”:

“Because I’ve done a great job. We have the strongest economy in the world. We closed it up. We are coming around the corner. The vaccines are coming out soon, and our economy is strong.”

On the campaign trail today

President Trump holds a rally in Erie, Pa. at 7:00 p.m. ET. Kamala Harris participates in a virtual GOTV event for voters in Milwaukee.

Ad Watch from Ben Kamisar

In today’s Ad Watch, Democrats are bringing in the cavalry: Former President Barack Obama.

The former president, who has enjoyed relatively high retrospective polling marks since he left office, is on the airwaves in some key battleground Senate races as Democrats push to flip control of the body.

In Maine, he’s touting Democrat Sara Gideon as “exactly the type of leader we need in Washington” in a seat that could decide control of the Senate; in Georgia, he praises Raphael Warnock as a “man of great moral integrity, a leader in the truest sense of the word” ahead of his Georgia special Senate election showdown; he called South Carolina’s Jaime Harrison the choice who will “fight for criminal justice reform, lower college costs and make health care affordable” in his bid against Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham; and in Michigan, he praised Democratic Sen. Gary Peters as “someone I trust” to protect the legacy of the Obama administration.

Obama has endorsed other candidates up and down the ballot, so it’s possible that he wades into other races in the final few weeks (ads are continuing to roll in this morning). But Democrats are hoping that one of their top surrogates can help maximize turnout among their party’s base, as well as shore up states that Obama carried during his time on the ballot.

The Lid: All the rage

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we learned how a single viral moment turned into a big fundraising boost in a key Senate race.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Trump wants to ramp up his “BOFFO” rallies. They may come with more risk than reward.

Does Jaime Harrison really have a chance?

Admiral William McRaven says he’s voting for Biden.

The New York Times checks in with how QAnon is going mainstream in the GOP.

The U.S. is set to execute the first woman in 67 years.

The Justice Department says that Trump shouldn’t be sued personally for denying a rape allegation because he made the statement while acting in his official capacity as president.



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Boris Johnson rattles Brussels as he 'sends clear signal to EU' with no deal Brexit plans

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BREXITEER Syed Kamall argued the UK preparations for no deal have taken the EU by surprise.

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