Trump claimed he turned a 'small' $1 million loan from his father into an empire. The New York Times says it was more like $60.7 million in loans

  • As a presidential candidate, Trump had repeatedly said his father gave him a "very small" $1 million loan, which he turned into an empire.
  • A sweeping new investigative report published by The New York Times on Tuesday, however, says Trump's father actually lent his son at least $60.7 million.
  • The Times reports that the amount would be worth $140 million in today's dollars and that much of it was never repaid.

During his first debate against Hillary Clinton in September 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump repeated a claim he had often made before in defense of his image as a self-made billionaire.

"My father gave me a very small loan in 1975, and I built it into a company that's worth many, many billions of dollars," Trump claimed.

A sweeping new investigative report published by The New York Times on Tuesday, however, says that Trump's father, Fred Trump, had actually lent his son at least $60.7 million.

Read more: New York state tax authorities are looking into the NYT article's claims about Trump

The Times reports that the amount would be worth $140 million in today's dollars and that much of it was never repaid.

According to the newspaper's findings: "As for that $1 million loan, Fred Trump actually lent him at least $60.7 million, or $140 million in today's dollars."

In the Times' piece, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reiterated Trump's oft-repeated claim that "The president's father gave him an initial $1 million loan, which he paid back."

Sanders added: "President Trump used this money to build an incredibly successful company as well as net worth of over $10 billion, including owning some of the world's greatest real estate."

As a presidential candidate, Trump had cited the $1 million figure on several occasions.

"My whole life really has been a 'no' and I fought through it," Trump said at a town hall event in October 2015. "It has not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me. And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars."

The Wall Street Journal had previously reported in September 2016 that Trump owed his father and his father's business about $14 million from numerous loans as early as 1985.

The lengthy investigation, which The New York Times says was more than a year in the making, accuses Trump of "instances of outright fraud" as he and his father manipulated the amounts of income they reported to the government.

Charles Harder, a lawyer for Trump, denied any allegations of tax violations in a statement, saying in the report, "The facts upon which The Times bases its allegations are extremely inaccurate."

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment on the Times' investigation.

Read the full investigative report from The New York Times.