“No, I don’t owe Russia money. It’s called mortgages. I will let you know who I owe, whatever small amount it is,” he said during a town hall on NBC, adding of debts laid out in a recent New York Times report: “It’s very very straight. Tiny percentage of the [net] worth. I am extremely underleveraged.”
The report, however, citing tax documents the newspaper obtained put its total debts at over $300m, most of it coming due over the next few years.
“I don’t owe money to any of these sinister people,” he said. “It’s leveraged with normal banks, not a big deal.”
Democratic lawmakers and his general election foe, Joe Biden, say otherwise.
California Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential candidate, last week mocked the president over his purposely murky financial picture.
“We now know because of great investigative journalism that Donald Trump paid $750 in taxes. … When I first heard about it I literally said $750,000? And it was like ‘No $750,’” she said during her one and only debate with Vice President Mike Pence.
“We now know that Donald Trump owes and is in debt for $400m,” Ms Harris added. “And just so everyone knows when we say in debt we means owes money to somebody.”
For his part, Mr Trump said of his not paying much in taxes for a number of recent years: “It’s called common sense and intelligence and having lawyers.”
The president, yet again, vowed to release his tax returns – but, as always, only when the results of an alleged IRS audit come in.