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OTR Interviews

Trump: You learn very little from tax returns, they are 'meaningless'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 11, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, Donald Trump, today, he talked about working with the GOP. Tomorrow he has a meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This election is too important to go into election at half strength. That means we need a real unification of our party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: So what does Donald Trump think about that? Well, he also drops a few clues about picking his V.P. nominee. And there is more. He has some surprises in store for the Republican convention.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, nice to see you.

DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congratulations on your wins last night.

TRUMP: Yes. It was a great evening.

VAN SUSTEREN: Always more fun to win, isn't it?

TRUMP: It's much better. We've had it both ways. Much better.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right.

Republican party, who is the leader of the Republican Party today. You are the presumptive nominee, not the nominee yet. And we've got the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

So who is the leader?

TRUMP: Well, I would say Paul Ryan. I mean, I would really think that. I'm doing very well. I'm leading in every category, and I think I'm going to have a record number of votes. I already have a record number of votes, come to think of it and millions of votes more than they had four years ago. Many millions of votes more.

And I think I set the all-time record for votes gotten by a Republican candidate. But, I would say Paul for the time being and maybe for a long time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tomorrow you're going to meet with Paul Ryan and with Reince Priebus.

What's the goal?

TRUMP: I think just unity. And, you know, we will see how it goes. And I think it will go well.

Paul is a good person. I don't know Paul well. And I think that's part of the meeting. We have to get to know. And don't forget he knew everybody else because they are governors, they are senators. I am a businessman.

And I think we want to get to know each other. I think we want to see if we have the same ideas because I represent a large group of people with very strong ideas and foundations. And I think we want to see a little bit about that.

And, you know, hopefully, it will work out. We're going to have a very successful campaign. The polls have been, you know, through the roof. In fact, I guess over the last three days, they have gone up amazingly. I'm now winning in Ohio and winning in a lot of places. So it's been, it's been a very interesting week.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you have unity with Speaker Ryan when you have differences on immigration and entitlements which are very important topics to the Republican Party and the rest of the nation. And I think probably he thinks you should probably tone it down a bit on your language.

TRUMP: I think you can. I mean, you know, we always have differences. No matter what you have, you're going to have differences. If you agree on 70 percent, that's always a lot.

But we will have, you know, I'm a strong border person, and so are millions of people, obviously, because that's one of the reasons I'm here. That's one of the reasons you're interviewing me instead of one of the people that you no longer can interview, you know. It wouldn't make sense.

So I think you can, actually, Greta. I think you can.

VAN SUSTEREN: You mentioned those other people. Some of them signed a pledge and aren't going to endorse you or said they haven't. You're thought on that.

TRUMP: Well, they are dishonorable people. I mean, anybody that signs the pledge, I can think of Jeb Bush signed the pledge. And he is not going to honor it. So that's a dishonorable person.

Now, I would imagine he will ultimately honor it because, you know, they wanted me to sign the pledge. Everybody wanted me. I was the big one that everybody wanted me to sign.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you held off at first.

TRUMP: You remember with the raising of your hand and the whole thing. So I ended up signing the pledge. And then these people, they don't honor it.

I think that somebody like Lindsey Graham will end up signing the pledge, because I actually think he is an honorable person. And I think he will sign the pledge.

I think that, Jeb, I don't know what he is going to do.

VAN SUSTEREN: Going back to immigration and Speaker Ryan.

Now I heard today that you had at least discussed a possible immigration commission, is that right?

TRUMP: I'm looking at it very strongly with Rudy Giuliani heading it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has he said he would?

TRUMP: I have spoken to him a little while ago. We are going to put together a group of probably five or six people. Very, very highly thought of people. And I think Rudy will head it up. And we'll look at the Muslim ban or temporary ban as we call it. And we'll look at some other things on immigration and I have a lot of confidence in Rudy Giuliani.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you decided whether you will back off on the ban. I realize it was a ban -- it was a temporary ban, but with unlimited temporary period, it could go on forever that way it --

TRUMP: No. It was never meant to be. That's why it was temporary. Sure, I would back off on it. I would like to back off as soon as possible. Because, frankly, I would like to see something happen. But we have to be vigilant.

There is a radical Islamic terrorism problem that, you know, our president doesn't even want to talk about. All you have to do is take a look at the World Trade Center. Take a look at San Bernardino or Paris. What a disaster that was. And so many other locations.

Just last night in Germany, look what happened on the train. And it's a big problem. People -- we're going to have to solve the problem

But I think by putting together a commission, a group of people that are highly respected in this field like Rudy and others, I think that could lead to something pretty good.

VAN SUSTEREN: The ban, the way it's described, even as a temporary ban would have, for instance, barred Amir Hekmati the marine who is over in Iran held prisoner, he wouldn't be able to come back. And the Muslims sort of serving in our military overseas, they wouldn't come back.

TRUMP: No, they would all comeback. I mean we have exceptions. And, again, it's temporary and ultimately it's my aim to have it lifted.

Now right now, there is no ban. But I would like to see -- there has to be an idea. There has to be something. Because there is some pretty bad things going on.

And I have Muslim friends. Great Muslim friends who are telling me you are so right. It's -- there is something going on that we have to get to the bottom of it. So we'll see what happens

But I think by putting five, six, or seven people together that have expertise in the field, I think that would be good. And Rudy is a smart guy. He's a tough guy. He gets it. He understands the problem and he is willing to talk about the problem. And he will head it up and he has agreed to do so.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I don't want to beat a dead horse. But it's a ban on Muslims with exceptions and it would be temporary.

TRUMP: And, of course, you have to have exceptions.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Well, the way that everybody read it. It was across the table.

TRUMP: Well, you have exceptions. But -- and ideally, you won't have a ban very long. I mean, we just have to find out what's happening.

I mean, you take a look what's happening -- I'm not just talking to him. I'm talking about all over the world.

You look at Germany. It's a mess. You look at Sweden, where they have a section that they just started. It's a total mess. I mean, something has to happen.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess it's a constitutional implication that's, you know, certainly is why I'm pressing you on this.

TRUMP: Well, we'll take a look. As far as the Syrians coming in, you know, the thousands and thousands of Syrians coming in from immigration, we have to build a safe zone. We have to do something. I'll get, frankly, the Gulf States to put up money and they will be willing to put it up. I guarantee you they will put it up because they haven't put up much right now.

And I don't want to spend the money on it because our country doesn't have any money. We are $19 trillion in the hole. We are going to be 21 trillion very, very soon because of the budgets that were recently passed. The omnibus budget, et cetera.

And we are really a nation that doesn't have the money. We have to pay off debt. Not create more debt. So we will get a safe zone some place in Syria, or numerous safe zones and we will build and we'll use other people's money, meaning other country's money. The Gulf States in particular and we will do something very good.

But I am absolutely against having more people flowing into this country -- no documentation, no papers, no nothing. Nobody knows where they come from. And this is what Obama is taking them, tens of thousands.

Hillary Clinton wants to double and triple the efforts. She wants to do it even more so. And we will have problems like you have never seen before if we do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, tax returns. You said that you don't intend to release your tax returns.

TRUMP: No, no, I didn't say that. I said I am being audited. I'm being audited.

VAN SUSTEREN: But what about the returns that are not being audited.

TRUMP: No, no, here's a link, but it goes way back.

VAN SUSTEREN: How far back are you being audited?

TRUMP: I don't know. I would have to ask. Quite -- long enough that it would matter. And there is a link between that and other things. And as soon as the audit is finished, I'd love to --

VAN SUSTEREN: Length of what?

TRUMP: It's just a very relatively simple audit. I will tell you what's unfair. Every year for many years, I have been audited. And I have friends that are very rich that don't get audited. They never get audited. I get audited every single year. And I think it's actually very unfair.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think it's deliberate, intentional, being (INAUDIBLE)?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I don't know. That I have friends that are very wealthy people. I say how often do you get audited? They didn't even know what I meant. They're never audited. I'm audited every single year. I think it's very unfair.

VAN SUSTEREN: If the audit goes back seven years, would you release the eighth year back? Would you be willing to do that?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No. Number one, it would be meaningless. I would have to find out how far back it goes.

But number one, when you go back eight years, that's pretty --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I know. But people are suspicious.

TRUMP: And I'll tell you something --

VAN SUSTEREN: But people are suspicious that you are not releasing because in January of 2012, you said to me that Mitt Romney was making a big mistake by not releasing his. So naturally that's become --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I don't know, but he wasn't under audit. I'm under audit. No lawyer would say release it when you're under audit. And these are very simple orders.

VAN SUSTEREN: I agree. I'm a lawyer. I wouldn't have someone, but --

TRUMP: You represented me, and I'm under audit.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: I would tell you not to release. I agree. If I were your lawyer.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: So the answer is don't release. Hopefully, before the election, I will release and I would like to release.

By the way, you learn very little from a tax return. You know, I have released my financials and my financials show tremendous numbers. Very little debt. All of that. You don't learn very much from a tax return.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think part of the things that they are releasing though is it dispels that argument that there's something going on, that you are not doing it. It takes the mystery off.

TRUMP: You don't learn anything. A tax return you learn very, very little. I mean, I have released highly complex, detailed financials in line with the federal elections commission. We put them in, I think it's 99 pages or close to 100 pages of detail saying what a great company I built.

You know, I built a company with very little debt. All of this stuff has certified numbers. Very, very little debt. Tremendous cash flow. Tremendous value. Great assets. I mean, that's something. And people go over that and they are very impressed.

You learn very little from a tax return.

But here's the thing, Greta, when you are under audit and you just said it, as a lawyer --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: And I totally agree. If you were my client and you are under audited, I would say don't release them. But I just think there are some years outside the audit that might (INAUDIBLE)

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: First of all, if there are, they are meaningless. OK? It doesn't matter because they are so far back. But at the right time, I will release them. I hope to release them. I would like to release them. But when I'm under audit, I can't do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Terrible situation in Baghdad today. Three bombs went off. There are about 100 people killed, probably more die from their injuries within a short time.

If you are president today, and you get the news, you get awakened, what do you do?

TRUMP: Well, look, the war in Iraq is a disaster. I was against it from the beginning. We should have never been there.

I always have to preface that by saying that that was bad judgment. Hillary Clinton had bad judgements. She raised her hand, a bad judgment. On email. She's got bad judgment on everything. We should have never been there.

(CROSSTALK)

OK. Now we're there. We have a crooked government. We have a government that's dishonest as hell. The money is being squandered and stolen. And the oil is being stolen and everything is a mess. And now they have probably ISIS going in and bombing the hell out of the place with these horrible bombs that kill lots of innocent people. It is a hell hole. It's a mess. It's something we should have never been involved in. Now we're involved.

What are you going to do? You have to be very tough. You have to be very stringent. But you have a government there that's totally corrupt. You have a bunch of corrupt people in that government and the whole thing is a shame.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. That's the problem. What do we do? We've got 5,000 troops there now

I mean, if you are president, do you do more? Do you do less? What do you do?

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: We're going to get rid of ISIS. But when it's not ISIS, it will be somebody else.

I mean, look, we have been over there for so many years. We have spent probably now it's up to $5 trillion in the Middle East. $5 trillion in the Middle East.

At some point, we have to get the hell out. You know that, ISIS, you will knock them out. It will be somebody else. It's going to continue to form. It's a mess. And we have to get rid of ISIS. You know, they chop off the heads and they drown the people in cages and we have to do it. And they blow up people. Probably this was ISIS or ISIS-related that took place in Baghdad.

But at some point, we have to get back to our country. Our country, our infrastructure is falling apart. Our highways, our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our airports, they are falling apart. We are like a third world country. $5 trillion, we could have rebuilt our country and had plenty of money left over.

(END VIDEOTAPE)