President Trump calls NYT tax story a 'hit piece'


President Trump on Wednesday accused The New York Times of writing a "hit piece" against him for publishing a bombshell report about "dubious" tax practices he used in the 1990s.

In a tweet, Trump called the story an "old, boring and often told hit piece on me" but stopped short of denying its claims.

"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," the president wrote.

Trump suggested the Times holds a grudge against him because the paper failed to predict his victory in the 2016 election. 

"Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!" he continued.

The message is the clearest sign yet that Trump is angry over the report, which undercuts his portrayal as a self-made billionaire and accuses him of possibly breaking tax laws.

In its report published Tuesday, the Times detailed a litany of tax practices used by Trump and his family members, including the establishment of a "sham" corporation to disguise taxable gifts from their parents and undervaluing many Trump's father's properties to avoid tax payments.

The practices allowed Trump and his siblings to inherit more than $1 billion from his father's real estate empire while paying a fraction of what they should have owed in gift and estate taxes, according to the Times.

Despite the explosive nature of the claims, the president waited until Wednesday morning to personally respond.

The White House issued a statement Tuesday blasting the Times for publishing what it called a "misleading attack" on the Trump family while also stopping short of denying the story's claims.

The statement was issued under White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' name, but contained a litany of Trump-style attacks on the Times and other media outlets. It asserted that the media's "credibility with the American people is at an all time low because they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news."

Charles Harder, an attorney for Trump, said in a statement to the Times that allegations of tax evasion are “100 percent false." He said Trump “had virtually no involvement” with the tax strategies used by his family, which he said were carried out by professional tax advisers. 

The allegations could pose legal problems for Trump, who is already grappling with the Russia investigation and a federal probe of his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said Tuesday it is reviewing the claims in the Times story and "vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation."

Harder suggested the president could file a defamation lawsuit against the Times if the paper claimed or implied the president engage din fraud or tax evasion. But Susanne Craig, one of the reporters who broke the story, said Wednesday on ABC News she is "not at all concerned" about the legal threat.

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