March 15, 2017 2:50 am -

This is a biggie!

US President Donald Trump paid $38m (£31m) in tax on more than $150m (£123m) income in 2005, a leaked tax return reveals.

Two pages of the tax return were revealed by US TV network MSNBC, triggering an angry response from the White House.

It said publishing the tax return was illegal.

Mr Trump refused to release his tax returns during the election campaign, breaking with a long-held tradition.

The two pages were a fraction of the complete return and did not include details of Mr Trump’s income.

The big question: who leaked it?

The White House on Tuesday night preemptively released some details of President Trump’s income and taxes he paid in 2005 as MSNBC teased leaked documents ahead of an evening broadcast.

Trump reported $150 million in income and paid $38 million in federal taxes, according to a statement from the White House.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had teased Tuesday evening that she had Trump’s 1040 form from 2005. Fellow anchor Lawrence O’Donnell tweeted before her show, “This is the night we’ve been waiting for.”

After apparently being warned by the network about the impending story, the White House quickly released the major numbers itself shortly before the broadcast — slamming MSNBC in the process.

“You know you are desperate for rating when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” the statement read. “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.”
Maddow said the federal document was mailed to David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and author of the recent book “The Making of Donald Trump.”

The White House said Trump had a responsibility “to pay no more tax than legally required.” Trump claimed a $103 million deduction and paid $5.3 million in federal income tax. The bulk of his tax payments came from alternative minimum tax — originally created to prevent tax abuses from wealthy filers.

It almost looked as if Team Trump was prepared with the information and numbers – a “client copy,” as it turns out. Could Trump or an ally himself have leaked the least-damning tax return they could find? David Cay Johnston himself explains why they may have come straight (or indirectly) from Trump:

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.