MSNBC Releases Information From Donald Trump's Tax Returns

MSNBC reports having information from Trump's 2005 tax return.

Reporter who got tax returns released to him in the mail suggests that Trump himself might have sent them to him. #TrumpsTaxReturns

— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 15, 2017

On Tuesday evening, Rachel Maddow set the political world aflame by tweeting that MSNBC had acquired President Donald Trump's tax returns, which he had previously refused to make public.

BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.


— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017

Maddow later specified that she had Trump's 1040 form from 2005. 

BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.


— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017

The documents came via Daily Beast columnist David Cay Johnston.

On @maddow I'll break a big story about Trump and his taxes - 9PM eastern via @DCReportMedia Ill be on @lawrence, too.

— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) March 15, 2017

Before the segment aired, the White House issued a statement about a "dishonest media" that was "desperate for ratings."

.@WhiteHouse statement on Maddow show @realDonaldTrump tax return via @ewstephe

— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) March 15, 2017

There were, of course, early rumors about what the document would contain.

I'm told that the tax documents @Maddow has (Trump's 2005 1040) shows that he paid an effective tax rate of about 25% in 2005.

— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) March 15, 2017

As for what the report actually said? Maddow began by discussing a fascination of hers in recent weeks, Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian oligarch who bought a property from Trump in Florida at a markup of tens of millions of dollars back in 2008. In reference to Rybolovlev, Maddow spent the early minutes discussing "continuing sources of intrigue" around "foreign ties"—intrigue, she said, that could be cleared up if Trump released his tax returns. 

She then went into some of the remaining mysteries around disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's firing and his ties to Turkey.

Maddow said she had the first two pages of Trump's 2005 return, which she confirmed were leaked. She claimed that he took a huge writedown and ended up with a negative income. As a result, he ended up paying very little in taxes, far below the amount paid by most people in the nine-figure income bracket.

The Daily Beast had some more details about what the documents contained, including exact figures.

In his 1995 returns, Trump—at least on paper—took at nearly $916 million dollar loss using what the New York Times called a "legally dubious method." He used that loss to "cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income." It was this maneuver that allowed him to avoid paying taxes on income for years afterwards, potentially up until the 2005 forms Maddow showed. The loophole Trump used was eliminated in 1996.

Johnston speculated that the documents may have come from Trump himself.

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