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Trump: 'Of course' I used $1 billion loss to avoid federal income taxes

Donald Trump said Sunday night that he "of course" used his nearly $1 billion claimed loss in 1995 to avoid paying federal income taxes.

"I understand it, the tax code, better than anybody that's run for president," Trump said at the second presidential debate in St. Louis.

Trump and Hillary Clinton clashed on how they would change the tax code for the wealthiest Americans, with Clinton attacking Trump for minimizing his tax burden and Trump claiming Clinton does not want reforms that would harm her wealthy supporters.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump responds to a question during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.
Scott Olson | Getty Images
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump responds to a question during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.

"All (Clinton's) friends" take advantage of tax loopholes, Trump contended, citing billionaire Clinton supporters George Soros and Warren Buffett. Clinton fired back by saying "Donald always takes care of people like Donald."

Both candidates were asked how they would reform the tax code to reduce loopholes for the rich. Trump has admitted to using those rules to minimize his tax burden, saying he "brilliantly" used them to his advantage.

Trump claimed a nearly $1 billion loss in 1995 after a series of struggling ventures, according to a report obtained by The New York Times.

In describing his reforms, Trump specifically cited only removing the carried interest loophole.

Clinton touted her plan to ensure people making more than $1 million a year pay a tax rate of 30 percent, called the "Buffett rule" after Buffett. She also cited her proposal to put a surcharge on incomes above $5 million.