“You maybe heard we’ve got some significant breaking news tonight; Donald Trump’s tax returns have surfaced – at least a portion,” Rachel Maddow boasted at the top of her Tuesday night MSNBC show. This about an hour after she tweeted, “We’ve got Trump’s tax returns.”
“This is the first time any federal tax returns [of Trump’s] have been obtained by any news organization since he became a candidate, let alone president,” Maddow crowed.
Chris Hayes, who is Maddow’s lead-in, closed his show acknowledging people were tweeting at him telling him to shut up so the network could get to Maddow and Trump’s taxes. Hayes said the White House had already responded to Maddow’s news “before we even broadcast it.”
The White House attempted to take some of the wind out of Maddow’s sails, giving the information in the document to Wall Street Journal in advance of her broadcast. WSJ reported President Donald Trump reported $150 million in income in one year and paid $38 million in taxes.
There was already evidence that Trump had a significant income tax liability in 2005, WSJ reported, noting that in 2005 he donated a conservation easement, which is a pledge not to build houses on his golf course in Bedminster, N.J. That donation was worth $39.1 million, WSJ reported, citing local records and adding that Trump would have been unlikely to make that donation without knowing he had income that it could offset.
Maddow only got to the documents after spending the first half of her program explaining why Trump’s tax documents are important, why viewers are clamoring to see them – in marked contrast to Trump, who insists the only people who are are journalists. In fact, as she went on, some of her viewers began to foam over:
Maddow said MSNBC approached the White House to make sure the four pages of documents her show obtained were legit, explaining Hayes crack about the White House responding even before the broadcast.
The White House confirmed and said in a statement:
“Before being elected president. Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required. That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.”
“The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”
To which Maddow responded: “For the record the First Amendment gives us the right to publish…it is not illegally published, nor are we fake.”
The documents were given to MSNBC by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who also published in his DCreport.org. Johnston, a guest on her show, said every POTUS since Nixon has released his tax records and wondered “why is Donald Trump so insistent we’re not to see his tax records.”
“Donald Trump really is desperate that we don’t see where his money comes from,” he said, adding that Trump has allegedly “associated with criminals” across his life.
Maddow said the big takeaway of her report tonight is that they got the tax docu “and it’s obtainable.”
“You can see some real stuff here,” Maddow concluded, reiterating that the White House “threatened” the show, saying it was illegal for MSNBC to report the information.
Insisting that is not accurate, Maddow said nonetheless, “We’ll take the threat in the spirit in which it was intended.”