Why would a bank loan Trump money after seeing his tax returns? CNN's Anderson Cooper asks a key question
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Susanne Craig appeared on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" to highlight some of the most incredible elements of her bombshell report on President Donald Trump's taxes and business losses.

"We're talking over a billion dollars over a decade," Cooper noted of Trump's losses.

"That's just for his core businesses," said Craig. "Every year that we looked at, he lost money and the losses grew as he went further into the casinos and the losses that hop in there. But it's unbelievable. We would have thought at least in one of the years that we saw, maybe the year he wrote Art of the Deal, he would have made money. He didn't. He was just bleeding money every year that we looked at his businesses.

"In certain, years Donald Trump, according to your reporting, lost more than nearly any other individual taxpayer in the United States, is that right?" Cooper pressed her.

"Yeah," said Craig. "It is stunning." She noted that thanks to Trump's losses, he paid no income taxes for eight of the ten years, and paid only the alternative minimum tax in the other two.

"So why was he losing so much money?" said Cooper.

"Because his businesses just weren't doing well," said Craig. "They actually were doing horribly, year in and year out. And he had some decent investments. We saw them here and there. But always they were just — the losses just flooded them. He would make money here, but then he would just lose money. He had a foray into stock trading, for example, and there was years he would make money, and then he just lost it all the next year."

"It is incredible that banks were loaning him — it was banks that — I guess they were keeping him afloat," said Cooper. "Deutsche Bank we know, he would default on loans to one part of Deutsche Bank, and those bankers would say, okay, we're not gonna have any more to do with him, and he just would go to another department."

"Yeah, later in his career, he did," said Craig. "And for the banks, when you look back at the period, a lot of them still remember just how bad it was and some of them still will not do business with him because of what happened. It all kind of came to a head in 1990, when his casino started to go bankrupt. But for years we have thought that that was sort of where it started. But now we know he just never made money in those years. And it is shocking for us to see and we led with it, that the year he wrote Art of the Deal, this master of the universe memoir ... that year he lost tens of millions of dollars."

While the tax information they saw was revealing, Craig noted, there is still a lot of information in the still-hidden tax returns that would answer several questions.

"It's incredible what we were able to see just with the information that we were provided, but we don't have the schedules," said Craig. "We need to see his sources of income. We know to know who's paying him and where that money's coming from, and right now we just don't know where that hidden hand is, because we don't have his tax returns or the schedules that go with them."

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