Ever since he started his campaign, President Donald Trump has made it clear that he would break from tradition and wouldn’t releases his taxed to the public. Many suspected that this was his way of avoiding a major hit in the polls due to suspicion of illicit business practices.
However, yesterday was filled with anticipation as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced that she’d obtained Trump’s tax forms and would reveal them on her show later that night.
BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
What we've got is from 2005… the President's 1040 form… details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 15, 2017
Once 9 o’clock came, Maddow welcomed Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who claimed that he was mailed Trump’s tax forms. He published the forms on his website, DCReport.org.
Before the show even aired, the White House came out to announced that Trump paid $38 million in taxes in 2005.
But, as members of the media took time to look into the forms Maddow presented, a handful of additional findings came from their research. Most importantly, Trump made $150 million in income in 2005 and The New York Times later found that he wrote off more than $100 million in losses to decrease the amount he’d have to pay in taxes.
The reactions to the Maddow’s scoop were noticeably divided. Some, including Johnston himself, acknowledge that Trump or his administration may have leaked the tax forms on their own for strategic purposes.
“By the way, let me point out that it’s entirely possible that Donald Trump sent this to me. Donald Trump has, over the years, leaked all sorts of things,” said Johnston.
If this were the case, it could be another example of how Trump attempts to distract his critics from his political moves by sacrificing information he can afford to lose.
On the other hand, some feel that the leak is a reward for the constant inquiries they’ve made into Trump’s past financial dealings.
It will take some time for the dust to settle on what impact the leak will have, if any.