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Five of the Biggest Unresolved Issues of the 2016 Presidential Campaign

As the presidential race enters its final days, take a look at five other outstanding issues still on the table.
Image: Presidential Debate Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in Saint Louis, Missouri
Workers put the finishing touches on the debate stage where Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will spar at their second presidential debate at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, Oct. 8, 2016.JIM LO SCALZO / EPA

Making huge, often impractical promises is par for the course in any presidential campaign, but in 2016 there will perhaps be an unprecedented number of red herrings come Election Day.

For instance, this week, voters learned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has not yet made good on his oft-repeated promise to donate $100 million of his own money to his campaign war chest. According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Trump on Friday wired $10 million to his campaign, adding to the relatively paltry sum in the neighborhood of $30,000 that he had contributed previously.

As the presidential race enters its final days, take a look at five other outstanding issues still on the table.

Hillary Clinton's Wall Street speeches — During the Democratic primary, Clinton's rival Sen. Bernie Sanders tirelessly tried to make hay out of the fact that the former Secretary of State would not release transcripts of paid speeches she had delivered to Wall Street audiences. Clinton repeatedly insisted she would release them if and when all the candidates running from both parties made the same disclosures.

But now that the primaries are over and Clinton and Trump are last major candidates standing, her position would not seem to hold up to review. Of course, WikiLeaks may have done the job for her: Earlier this month they released what were purported to be excerpts from those speeches.

Proof of Melania Trump's citizenship status — As the Slovenia-born Melania Trump began to draw more scrutiny as a potential first lady, questions started to be raised about how she obtained her citizenship status. "She has got it so documented," Trump insisted back in August. He pledged to hold a press conference that would provide detailed information to quell rumors about her background.

But that much discussed press conference never took place. Melania Trump did eventually share a letter on social media from her attorney claiming that she never worked in the U.S. in 1995, which would have been prior to her officially obtaining a work visa. But skeptics still believe the matter is yet to be settled because no definitive proof was attached to the denials.

Evidence to refute Donald Trump's accusers — After a group of women (now 12) recently came forward to accuse Trump of past sexual assaults, the candidate and his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, promised to release evidence that would discredit all of them. Initially, Trump said this evidence would come out in the "appropriate way and at the appropriate time." But later, Pence went even further, promising detailed rebuttals "before the day is out" — that was on Oct. 14.

But with the exception of one alleged witness (whose reliability has been seriously questioned) to an incident that was supposed to have taken place on an airplane more that 35 years ago, the Trump campaign has not produced anything to prove his accusers demonstrably false.

Although Trump has said that all of the allegations have been "debunked," the reality is that it will very much be his word against his accusers' for the foreseeable future.

Republican plan to expand the electoral map — The Trump campaign prides itself on keeping many of its major policy proposals close to the chest. They have a "secret" plan to defeat ISIS. They have a "beautiful" replacement for Obamacare. But one of the most curious assertions yet to be supported by concrete data is Trump's insistence during the GOP primaries that he could put dark blue states like New York, California, New Jersey and Connecticut in play.

While Trump did dominate Republican primary contests in most of the traditionally Democratic-leaning states, and his unconventional background and politics might make him uniquely appealing to previously untapped constituencies for the GOP, he has consistently performed like a traditional red state candidate in places like New York and California.

Even his campaign's own battleground map concedes that the biggest blue strongholds from the last two and half decades are off the table. Could it be that Trump is acknowledging he can't win everywhere?

Donald Trump's tax returns — Perhaps the Holy Grail of this election cycle has been the real estate mogul's tax returns. Many members of the press and Trump's political opponents have long suspected they would not only reveal how much (if anything) he pays in federal income tax, but also how much he actually earns and what if any foreign entanglements he may have.

Trump continues to cite an ongoing IRS audit as the only real hindrance to making his tax information public, but experts and critics have repeatedly pointed out that former President Richard Nixon released his returns while under audit, and that there is nothing to prevent Trump from doing the same.

On Oct. 1, some Trump returns from the mid-90s were leaked to the New York Times, revealing that Trump could have legally avoided paying federal income taxes for nearly two decades, something Trump and his surrogates suggested was a sign of intelligence and business savvy.

Still, the American public remains woefully uninformed about Trump's current financial status and his contributions to the federal government.