Watch Hillary Clinton shred Donald Trump over his missing tax returns

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During Monday night's presidential debate, Hillary Clinton listed some reasons why she thinks Donald Trump won't release his tax returns: Maybe he's not as wealthy as he claims he is, maybe he's not as charitable as he claims he is, and that he doesn't want the public to know exactly what dealings he's had with Wall Street and foreign banks.


All three reasons have credibility. Questionable accounting have underpinned many of Trump's claims of wealth, which famously include his brand, which he said in a 2005 deposition can fluctuate "with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings." Fortune magazine even estimated that his annual income is about a third of what he says it is.

The question of his charitable giving is an easier one to answer. The Trump Foundation, the nonprofit conduit through which Trump claims he's donated millions of dollars, has been found making illegal solicited donations to state attorney generals that later backed off of investigating his assets, paying out settlements in lawsuits against his for-profit companies, and purchasing multiple portraits of Trump. The few verifiable donations he has made have come under public pressure.


Trump's business dealings with Wall Street and other banks also raise multiple questions. Most notably, he has extensive dealings with Deutsche Bank, which is the bank of choice for Russian elites looking to smuggle money out of the country and has fought with American banking regulators for years, and owes it hundreds of millions of dollars. In total, Trump owes major banks at least $650 million, posing a major conflict of interest.

Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.