Giuliani says Trump a ‘genius’ if avoiding taxes

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Sacred Heart University, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Fairfield, Connecticut. (Evan Vucci/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) – Donald Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani says the Republican candidate is a “genius” if he avoided federal income taxes and noted that poor people can take advantage of the same tax “loophole.”

Giuliani tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that if Trump hadn’t used his business losses to his advantage on his taxes, he would have been sued by any business partners and shareholders.

Giulianai said: “The reality is he’s a genius.”

The New York Times obtained tax documents from 1995 that showed a $916 million loss in federal taxable income, a loss large enough to allow him to avoid paying federal income taxes for as many as 18 years.

When asked whether such a loophole was fair, Giuliani noted that many Americans have such low incomes that they aren’t required to pay federal income taxes either.

“A lot of the people that are poor take advantage of loopholes and pay no taxes,” said Giuliani. “Those are loopholes also.”

Donald Trump is tweeting about the New York Times story.

He tweeted early Sunday: “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.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is taking aim at Trump over the report.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, pointed to Trump’s comments during his first debate with Clinton, in which he said that not paying federal income taxes would show he was “smart.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager says the report on Donald Trump’s tax returns should resonate with many people who feel the U.S. tax system is unfair.

Mook tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that voters clamoring for change are realizing that Trump isn’t the solution.

“We talk about the rigged system out there. Donald Trump embodies that,” said Mook.

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