NEW YORK, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A $916 million loss Donald Trump declared on his 1995 New York state income tax returns may have allowed him to legally avoid paying any personal income tax for nearly two decades, the New York Times reported.
Tax records obtained by the Times show the Republican presidential candidate declared the loss as part of a series of deals in the 1990s involving three Atlantic City casinos, his dabbling in the airline industry and his purchase of Manhattan's Plaza Hotel.
Tax experts hired by the newspaper to analyze Trump's 1995 returns said tax rules that gave advantage to the wealthy could have allowed him to use the $916 million loss to legally negate the amount of taxable income he would have owed over 18 years.
The campaign for Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton said the report showed Trump is a bad businessmen.
"He would have been a fool not to take advantage" of the laws, Giuliani said.
In the first presidential debate last week, Clinton said Trump may be refusing to release his returns because he has not been paying income tax, the Wall Street Journal reported. "That makes me smart," Trump retorted.
Trump's campaign released a statement late Saturday, saying the returns were "illegally obtained" by the Times. The statement said Trump has paid plenty in real estate and state taxes but it did not mention federal taxes.
"Mr. Trump is 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 statement said. "That being said, Mr. Trump has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in property taxes, sales and excise taxes, real estate taxes, city taxes, state taxes, employee taxes and federal taxes, along with very substantial charitable contributions. Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for president and he is the only one that knows how to fix it."
Trump, himself, tweeted a similar statement Saturday night, CNN reported. "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."
He went on to say, "I have created tens of thousands of jobs and will bring back great American prosperity. Hillary has only created jobs at the FBI and DOJ!"
What Trump did was "perfectly legal," Giuliani said on This Week., ABC News reported. He said America "needs a turnaround artist."
As to the size of the business loss Trump claimed, the former mayor cited Trump's 1987 bestselling book "The Art of The Deal," which said "every great man has had failures."
"Oh, for gosh sakes," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Fox News Sunday. "No apologies for complying with the law," USA Today reported. Christie said the New York Times story is a good one for Trump.
"The only news here is that the more than 20-year-old alleged tax document was illegally obtained, a further demonstration that the New York Times, like establishment media in general, is an extension of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic Party and their global special interests," the Trump campaign said in a statement, according to NBC News.
The Times said in a statement that a lawyer for Trump threatened legal action against the paper if the records were published. They argued that publishing the records without Trump's authorization would be illegal.