The Trump administration was essentially forced to release some information on Trump’s 2005 tax returns after MSNBC teased about releasing leaked documents ahead of a broadcast.
The President slammed NBC news for releasing two pages of his taxes and questioned how they actually obtained the taxes. He also called NBC Fake News, a favorite term used by Trump.
Rachel Maddow of MSNBC spent nearly 20 minutes drawing in an audience with the tease of Trump’s tax documents. She even questioned if the documents could reveal tough answers some American have about Trump’s ties with Russia.
According to an official White House statement that matched the released documents, Trump reported $150 million in income and paid $38 million in federal taxes. The White House also issued a statement saying how desperate the news agency was to reveal taxes from over a decade ago:
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago. Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. 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.”
The taxes were sent to David Cay Johnston who is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist via his mailbox. He made an interesting statement saying it was “entirely possible that Donald Sent this to me.” In past history, and specifically in his campaign, Trump used several ways of distracting from rival victories. Some speculations say releasing just enough negative information on him was enough to take away from the rival and essentially promote him.
Johnson did respond to Trump’s tweet:
“Gee, Donald, your White House confirmed my story. POTUS fake Tweet. Sad!”
Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
This could be a major distraction from the new healthcare being passed. The complaining has seemed to stop because everyone is focused on his taxes. Another point that would seem to make this true is how fast the White House released his taxes despite repeatedly saying they would not because of IRS audits.
As for the numbers, everything he did was legal and acceptable. The White House issued a statement saying he had a responsibility “to pay no more tax than legally required.” Of the income he made, Trump claimed a $103 million deduction and paid $5.3 million in federal income tax. The remaining came almost entirely by an alternative minimum tax (AMT) payment. The AMT was originally created to help prevent tax avoidance by the wealthy.
The White House continued addressing the taxes of the President saying:
“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 dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars [sic], 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 Democrats have been searching for the President’s taxes since the beginning of his campaign, so this revealing gives them part of what they want. While the left has tried to force a release of Trump’s taxes, the Hill reports, “the GOP chairmen of the congressional tax-writing committees have said it would be an abuse of their authority to request Trump’s tax returns.”
As it stands, we’re assuming Trump is using his taxes mainly as leverage and distraction. And it seems to be working.
Credit: The Hill