After years of questions and contention, Donald Trump has finally released his tax returns. The White House revealed two pages of President Trump’s 2005 taxes after learning that the MSNBC had obtained the documents. Minutes before MSNBC journalist Rachel Maddow was set to air the release, the White House released the documents.
BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
The documents reveal that Trump paid $US38 million in tax, but had a “big write-down” of $US103 million in 2005.
Naturally, the White House has blamed the “dishonest media” for forcing their hand and necessitating the release. The White House released a statement anonymously to a journalist, which was then posted by Jim Acosta, American journalist and Senior White House Correspondent for CNN.
WH responds to MSNBC report on Trump tax returns: "you know you are desperate when you willing to violate the law…" pic.twitter.com/DCedFdxWCc
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 15, 2017
Rather than being stolen by “dishonest media”, the papers were delivered to investigative journalist David Cay Johnston in his mailbox.
“There is nothing illegal about publishing stuff. Journalists can receive any information … It is not illegal to publish it,” said Johnston.
Rachel Maddow, the journalist who broke the story live on air, has said that we should focus on what’s important.
“This document has been made available,” Maddow said. “That may be the most important part of this story.”
However, a report by the New York Times in October 2016 into Trump’s 1995 tax statements mean that Donald Trump might have been able to avoid paying tax. Trump may have achieved this by taking a loss of $UD916 million and therefore not paying personal tax for the past 18 years.
When Donald Trump was called on to release his tax returns after the release of the documents, his advisors stepped in to say that it was a show of his business expertise.
“This is a perfectly legal application of the tax code. And he would have been fool not to take advantage of it,” Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said.
When Donald Trump has been asked about his tax returns before, he has said that he is unable to release them due to an ongoing audit. However, the IRS has said that an audit does not bar an individual from sharing their own tax information.