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Donald Trump Says He ‘Brilliantly’ Used Tax Laws After Bombshell Report

PUEBLO, CO - OCTOBER 03: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a political rally held at the Pueblo Convention Center on October 3, 2016 in Pueblo, Colorado. Trump spoke in Pueblo and will be speaking in Loveland, Colorado tonight as he campaigns across the state. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)

PUEBLO, Colo. (Reuters) – Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said on Monday he “brilliantly used” U.S. tax rules to his advantage in trying to limit the amount he paid in taxes, arguing it helped him survive a difficult period in the real estate market.

“I was able to use the tax laws of this country and my business acumen to dig out of the real estate mess … when few others were able to do what I did,” Trump told a crowd in Pueblo, Colorado.

It was Trump’s first extended comments since a New York Times report said he had claimed a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns, which experts said might have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for 18 years.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for the Nov. 8 election, has seized on the report, arguing the tax records undercut Trump’s business acumen.

“What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year? This is Trump to a T, he’s taken corporate excess and made a business out of it,” Clinton told a rally in Toledo, Ohio, on Monday.

Clinton has repeatedly called on Trump to release his full returns, as presidential candidates have done in the past.

Trump was dismissive of the Times’ story in his Pueblo remarks, saying the media was “obsessed with an alleged tax filing from the 1990s.”

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