WASHINGTON - Lawyers for President Donald Trump said Friday that a review of his last 10 years of tax returns did not reflect “any income of any type from Russian sources,” but the letter included exceptions related to previously cited income generated from a beauty pageant and sale of a Florida estate.
The letter represented the latest attempt by the president to tamp down concerns about any Russian ties amid an ongoing investigation of his campaign’s associates and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
The attorneys did not release copies of Trump’s tax returns, so The Associated Press cannot independently verify their conclusions. Their review also notably takes into account only Trump’s returns from the past 10 years, leaving open questions about whether there were financial dealings with Russia in earlier years.
The lawyers offered no supporting documents to back up the claims made in the letter.
Trump has refused to release his income tax records, despite pressure from Democrats, breaking with a practice set by his predecessors. The president has said he would release his returns when the Internal Revenue Service completes an audit. The tax returns, the attorneys say, largely reflect income and interest paid by the web of corporate entities that made up The Trump Organization prior to Trump taking office.
In a letter released to the AP and dated March 8, the attorneys said Trump’s last 10 years of tax returns don’t reflect equity investments by Russians in entities controlled by Trump or debt owed by Trump to Russian lenders. Under U.S. tax law, not all financial ties would be required to be reported on a personal tax return.
The letter said that the returns do reflect some income from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow and a property sold to a Russian billionaire in 2008 for $95 million.
The White House said Trump asked his lawyers for the letter to outline information on any ties Trump might have to Russia. The letter was then provided to Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham leads one of the congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in last year’s election.