Washington • President Donald Trump lashed out Wednesday at the New York Times, dismissing a lengthy story about the vast extent to which his father had fueled his wealth with tax avoidance schemes that at times amounted to fraud as both a “hit piece” and “boring.”
He also accused the paper of holding a grudge from the 2016 election.
The Times story, which published online Tuesday afternoon, reported that Trump had participated in "dubious tax schemes" that allowed his father to pass him more than $413 million while minimizing tax payments.
"The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before," Trump wrote on Twitter. "They used the concept of 'time value of money' in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!"
The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept of “time value of money” in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2018
The New York Department of Taxation and Finance said Tuesday that it had begun reviewing the allegations detailed in the Times report, which in some cases amount to “outright fraud,” according to the paper.
The Times said it had unraveled a complex effort by Trump's father, Fred, to build and then pass along his wealth by examining more than 100,000 pages of documents from the businesses of Fred Trump.
It said that, starting in the 1990s, Donald Trump had helped his father lower his tax bills via a sham corporation that processed padded invoices, by using improper tax deductions and by systematically undervaluing his father's real estate properties.
At a briefing later Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the Times story "a totally false attack based on an old, recycled news story."
But she declined to identify any specific factual errors, instead referring reporters to statements made in the story by a lawyer for Trump.
"There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone," Sanders asserted, adding that the one thing the story correctly conveyed is that Trump's father "had a great deal of confidence in him."
Sanders said there are no immediate plans to release any of Trump's tax returns, something Democrats have long said would help answer questions about the propriety of his business dealings.
Sanders said she would have to check to see whether Trump's returns were still being audited. Trump campaign and White House officials have repeatedly cited audits as the reason Trump didn't release his returns, as has become custom in presidential races.
The concept of "time value of money," which Trump referenced in his tweet, is the idea that money that is available at the present time is worth more than the same amount in the future, due to its potential earning capacity.
The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold contributed to this report.