Trump defends his Chinese bank account, and says he closed it before he was elected. 'I was a businessman doing business.'

  • President Donald Trump closed his Chinese bank account before he ran for president, he claimed during Thursday's election debate.
  • The New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump maintained a Chinese bank account and paid nearly $200,000 in local taxes between 2013 and 2015.
  • Trump said he opened the account because he was considering a deal in China. He was merely "a businessman doing business," he said.
  • "I was thinking about it, and I decided I'm not gonna do it, didn't like it, I decided not to do it, had an account open, and I closed it," he said.
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President Donald Trump defended his Chinese bank account during Thursday's presidential debate, and said he had closed it before he was elected.

Trump opened the account in 2013 as "a businessman doing business," he said during the debate, and closed it in 2015, the year he announced he was running for president.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported Trump has a Chinese bank account that doesn't appear on public financial disclosures because it's listed under his company, Trump International Hotels Management.

Trump had "many bank accounts, and they were all listed, and they were all over the place," he said. He opened the account because he was considering a business deal in China, he said, without elaborating.

"I was thinking about doing a deal in China, like millions of other people, I was thinking about it, and I decided I'm not gonna do it, didn't like it, I decided not to do it, had an account open, and I closed it."

He closed the account "before I even ran for president, let alone became president," he said, in a response to a question from moderator Kristen Welker about foreign conflicts of interest.

The account paid nearly $200,000 in local taxes between 2013 and 2015, the Times reported.

Trump paid $750 in taxes to the US in 2016 and 2017.

Read more: Joe Biden's most vexing question if he wins: What to do about prosecuting Trump

A Trump spokesman told the Times for the original piece that the account was linked to potential hotel deals in Asia.

During the debate, Trump also alleged that Democratic rival Joe Biden was involved in his son Hunter's business dealings, and accused him of taking money from China. 

But Biden had no role in a proposed investment venture in China, according to corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Trump also described Biden's two brothers and his son as "like a vacuum cleaner."

"They're sucking up money," he said.

"That's not true," Biden immediately responded.

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