Are Trump’s tax returns merely the first October Surprise?

No US Presidential Election would be complete without at least speculation of the infamous ‘October Surprise’. The gamechanging event, revelation or scandal that transforms the race. Just three days into the month, we already have a prime contender.

On Saturday night, the US media went into a frenzy – even momentarily diverting attention from the much awaited Saturday Night Live Premiere – with the breaking news that Donald Trump’s tax returns had been leaked to the New York Times. The return address on the package was even listed as Trump Tower!

The headlines were certainly eyecatching, revealing that in 1995, Trump declared a whopping $916M loss. Such an enormous loss implies that he may not have paid any federal income tax since. Surrogates such as Rudy Giuliani have been struggling to defend their boss ever since.

Tellingly, nobody from Team Trump has denied the authenticity of them or the charge of not paying federal income tax since. Instead, the likes of Giuliani declare it proves the Republican candidate is a ‘genius’.

Just how many voters are actually moved, or even surprised, remains unclear. It is just the latest piece of a complex jigsaw that investigative journalists have been trying to put together, regarding Trump’s finances and business dealings. Stories about his charitable donations (or lack of), lawsuits, potential conflicts of interest or business failures emerge almost every day.

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