A pattern of obfuscation, lies, vague claims, distractions, exaggerations, frequent use of superlatives and so on is an obvious shield which represents an effort by a speaker to avoid having to face the truth. News organizations that sift through statements to determine which individual statements are false or who measure degrees of falsity with Pinocchios are completely missing the point. Reporters need to look at the pattern, not the individual statements.
The pattern of lies viewed in its totality is a shield that Trump employs. What is he hiding? The number of possibilities is quite limited.
1. He is not really a billionaire after all. This was an accusation made during the campaign. Does this matter? Not really. If his assets and liabilities are both large, the difference between the two can easily be rationalized away with arguments that are not entirely specious. His most ardent supporters would not be swayed if DJT is not really a billionaire.
2. He is not really a businessman. At least not in the normal sense of the term. He is more of a shakedown artist who refuses to pay contractors for completed work and uses lawsuits as an instrument of intimidation and control. All evidence points in this direction. Yet this does not explain his behavior. He can rationalize this away.
3. He runs a criminal enterprise and/or he has committed criminal acts. This would be a good reason to hide his tax returns if investigative reporting of those returns would yield information of fraudulent or other criminal behavior.
4. He is the functional equivalent of a mole for a foreign power, Russia. Many individual details point in this direction based on his outward behavior. In fact, the only reason to infer that DJT is not a mole is that he has openly behaved like a Russian spy. Logically, what Russian spy would act like one? Paradoxically, this means that the best cover for a Russian spy would be to act like a spy. One variation on this #4 is not that he is a spy per se, but that he is willing to trade American policy decisions by the president for personal financial gains to his personal business interests in Russia, all of which is being kept secret based on an argument that nothing he is doing is forbidden by law.
What are the chances that #4 is true? Is it 1%? Less than 100%?