Trump campaign's response to Clinton's challenge to release tax returns: Show us your emails
Donald Trump's campaign responded Friday to Hillary Clinton challenging him to release his tax returns by daring the Democratic presidential candidate to come clean on her State Department email scandal.
"Hillary Clinton has turned over the only records nobody wants to see from her — the American public wants to see the 33,000 emails she deleted to obstruct an FBI investigation," Trump's senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, claimed in a statement Friday evening.
Clinton said in December 2014 that she turned over more than 30,000 emails to the State Department. She also said at the time that her team deleted roughly 32,000 emails from the private, unauthorized email servers she used to conduct official and personal business.
The former secretary of state argued those emails were deleted because the messages were personal, and that they didn't qualify as work-related.
Much of the FBI's eventual investigation into Clinton's use of private email servers focused on recovering those deleted emails.
FBI Director James Comey, who recommended in July that no charges be brought against Clinton, said his investigators "discovered several thousand work-related" notes among the deleted emails.
The FBI chief also revealed some of the deleted emails contained classified information, contrary to Clinton's earlier claims.
"From the group of 30,000 emails returned to the State Department, 110 emails in 52 email chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received," he said.
The FBI will send "several thousand" of the recovered emails to the State Department, which will make the once-deleted notes available on a "rolling basis," a government lawyer announced this month.
On Friday, the Trump camp went hard after Clinton's record at the State Department.
"We We want to see the Clinton Foundation records showing how the Clintons sold our uranium to Russia, ripped off Haiti and cut deals with oppressive regimes around the world. We want to see the pay-for-play emails that Clinton's Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, refuses to turn over," Miller said. "We want to see the records the night of Benghazi that explain why Secretary Clinton didn't send in reinforcements as soon as the attack had begun."
He added in reference to an issue that came up in the Democratic presidential primaries, "We want to see the transcripts of the secret Wall Street speeches Clinton was paid $10,000 dollars-a-minute to give."
Much of the Trump camp's response to Clinton's tax return challenge Friday focused on questions regarding her years at the State Department.
"Hillary Clinton is at the center of an international corruption scandal that reveals her use of government authority and influence for personal gain. The records we need to see are those being hidden, deleted, obstructed and stashed away by Hillary Clinton to keep authorities from untangling this corrupt scheme that reaches into the world's shady corridors of power," Miller said.
Clinton's campaign released her 2015 tax returns Friday morning, and encouraged the GOP nominee to do the same.
The Democratic presidential candidate's 2015 tax filings showed she and Bill Clinton paid an effective federal tax rate of 34.2 percent last year.
The same tax documents also showed their adjusted gross income last year was $10.6 million. Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., also released 10 years' worth of tax returns on Friday.
Clinton's campaign formally called on the GOP nominee to follow their lead and release his tax information.
"Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine continue to set the standard for financial transparency as she releases her 2015 personal tax return and builds on the Clintons' tradition of making their returns public since 1977 and Kaine releases 10 years of his returns," Hillary for America Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said in a statement Friday.
"In stark contrast, Donald Trump is hiding behind fake excuses and backtracking on his previous promises to release his tax returns. He has failed to provide the public with the most basic financial information disclosed by every major candidate in the last 40 years. What is he trying to hide?" she asked.
Trump has refused all throughout the 2016 election cycle to release his tax information, and he has avoided doing so by issuing a number of excuses, including that he is under audit and that there is "nothing to learn from them."
Trump's refusal to release his tax information has drawn criticism not just from Democrats, but from conservatives also, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and political analyst George Will, who've suggested the GOP nominee has something to hide.
The GOP candidate's campaign ultimately dismissed Clinton's tax return challenge as a "distraction."
"Everything she doesn't want us to see has been digitally shredded or put under lock and key. This document release is nothing more than an attempt at distraction and misdirection by an individual who created and then purged an illegal private email server," Miller said Friday.