22:19, March 14 195 0

2017-03-14 22:19:05


Rachel Maddow got her hands on a Trump tax return and showed it on TV

The discovery of a federal tax return filed by Donald J. Trump — showing he did in fact pay taxes at least once, more than a decade before he won the White House — was greeted as huge breaking news, and MSNBC certainly hyped it as such with tweets and promos and on-screen reminders.

Given that every president since Jimmy Carter has agreed to release his Internal Revenue Service returns, the fact out host Rachel Maddow got her hands on Trump’s return from 2005 did certainly merit all the breathless excitement. There was so much interest, in fact, that both Maddow’s blog site, maddowblog.com, and the website of Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston both crashed.

But as it turns out, the news once delivered quickly fell back to earth. The White House preempted the breaking news with a pre-show statement that acknowledged President Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes on reported income of $150 million in 2005. That is the only return obtained, a joint return filed by both Trump and his newlywed third wife, Melania. It was given to Maddow by Johnston, who said it was “delivered over the transom” one day, a colorful way of saying it showed up in his mailbox. 

Johnston and Maddow speculated the return might even have been sent to him by the White House itself.

Trump’s two-page 1040 from 2005 showed he paid an effective tax rate of 25 percent, which was confirmed by the White House.

Maddow declared the return “raised more questions than it answers,” and said that what was key about the revelation was that “A: we obtained this, and B: that they are obtainable.”

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