Donald Trump's decision to take a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax return showed his business acumen and "genius" at figuring out how to minimize his tax bill, two of the Republican presidential candidate's advisers said on Sunday.
"This is a perfectly legal application of the tax code. And he would have been fool not to take advantage of it," said Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who is one of Trump's advisers.
Speaking on the ABC program "This Week," Giuliani said that as a business owner, Trump has a "fiduciary duty" to the investors in his real estate company to maximize profits.
Giuliani compared Trump's ability to come back from the nearly $1-billion loss to turnarounds made by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister who led the United Kingdom through World War Two.
"It shows what a genius he is. It shows he was able to preserve his enterprise, and then he was able to build it," Giuliani said on CNN's "State of the Union."
The New York Times reported on Saturday that it had obtained Trump's 1995 tax records and it quoted experts as saying that the $916 million loss he reported for that year may have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
Susanne Craig, one of the Times reporters who was bylined on the story about Trump's tax records, said the tax documents arrived in a manila envelope in her mailbox at the Times with a return address of the Trump Organization.
She said a lawyer for Trump had threatened the newspaper with legal action if it decided to publish the documents.