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Trump under mounting scrutiny amid NYT tax report

Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman joins Zack Guzman to discuss the New York Times report regarding President Trump's taxes and what we should expect from Tuesday's debate.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: This week looks to be a rather interesting one for President Trump, not only dealing with the problems tied to the pandemic here in 2020, but a new report from "The New York Times" is adding some pressure here around the question surrounding President Trump and his tax history.

A new report highlights that President Trump allegedly paid $750 in-- in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency and paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the prior 15 years, largely because of so many losses that stacked up that he reported on those returns. It also raises new questions about paying his daughter Ivanka Trump through his business organization in consulting fees that may have been misreported here as well.

For more on that, I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's Rick Newman. And, Rick, all of that is to say it's a big problem for him. But even beneath that, you're raising a different one here talking about that this and the information that "The New York Times" got came from somebody-- somebody close to him.

RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, I feel like-- the headline of the story I just wrote is "Trump World is Imploding," and I think that Trump faces really serious legal ramifications based on all these things we've been seeing in "The New York Times" and other news organization have been publishing for several years now. So you've just outlined some of the findings from this huge report in "The Times," but the thing that I found most interesting is that somebody-- it looks like somebody inside the Trump organization, or at least close to Trump who knows about his finances, turned on him.

So "The New York Times" is not saying where they got all this information, but it's very detailed. You can tell by the reporting. And they-- they say they're going to have a lot more reporting to come. So this is not just a page or two of a tax return from 2005 like we've seen before. This is kind of-- it sounds like a trove of documents about Trump's financial records.

So I-- they're-- they're not saying where they got this. In fact, they're not even releasing those documents because they're saying if they publish the documents themselves, that might give some indication of where they came from. So they go to great lengths to protect the source or sources of this material. But, look, I mean, it's like there's a mole in the Trump organization, and, you know, this has been a very secretive organization until recently.

And there's been so much coming out about how the Trump organization and the Trump family members evade taxes and perhaps dodge taxes illegally, perhaps, that I think this is going to spell legal trouble for Trump for a long time to come.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, the legal trouble question is interesting because it's very different than the political questions and ramifications that might come in this election cycle because those will linger for a while. And obviously, there will be time for prosecutors to dig into all this.

But when you think about those political ramifications, obviously the debate coming up here, how might that play into all this, too, if you have President Trump again-- once again on his back foot in going up against Joe Biden here? What are you expecting in maybe how this could play a part and what else we should see play out on the debate stage?

RICK NEWMAN: I-- I honestly don't think this is going to have a huge political impact. It's the most definitive information we've seen yet about how Trump essentially, you know, some-- in some years pays no taxes. I mean, you know, there are-- there are some tax-- some tax breaks that he takes advantage of, but perhaps some things that skirt the bounds of legality.

But yeah, look, I mean, there aren't very many undecided voters at this point. I think the one impact it has is Trump really wants to be cheering about his Supreme Court nominee right now, Amy Coney Barrett, and talking about, you know, what a win that seems to be for his conservative base. But as is often the case, Trump is just-- he just cannot get out of, you know, the mud pit in terms of the negative news.

So he's going to be criticizing "The New York Times." Every time he criticizes "The New York Times" or calls it fake news, it just draws attention again to the original story. But the legal charges are the thing that I think are going to persist for years.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and they're very problematic. I mean, whether or not he wins the election, those will be there. But, Rick Newman, appreciate you bringing us all that.