President Donald Trump made more than $150 million and paid $38.4 million in federal taxes in 2005, according to two pages of his federal income tax returns for that year, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow revealed Tuesday. During an appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” veteran tax journalist David Cay Johnston said he got hold of the documents when they “came in the mail over the transom” but is unknown of the sender.
Speculations are ripe that Trump is not releasing his income tax returns as he might be hiding whether his tax policy would benefit himself or his family, or the possibility of him having business ties with Russia or Turkey. Several Democratic lawmakers and Republicans have expressed a similar concern, according to the discussion at the show.
The White House confirmed Tuesday that Trump paid $38 million in taxes on an income of about $150 million in 2005, just minutes before Maddow was set to release a leaked portion of his tax returns for that year. Democrats were quick enough to attack Tuesday night’s report, arguing that the White House’s decision to release details of Trump’s 2005 taxes before Maddow’s show undercut his past refusal to release any such information, according to the New York Times.
“If they can release some of the information, they can release all of the information,” Zac Petkanas, a senior adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. “The only reason not to release his returns is to hide what’s in them, such as financial connections with Russian oligarchs and the Kremlin.”
Maddow tweeted Tuesday evening that she had Trump’s Form 1040 from 2005. Fellow anchor Lawrence O’Donnell too tweeted before her show, “This is the night we’ve been waiting for.”
It came to light last May that Trump did not pay any federal income tax for two years in the late 1970s because he reported having negative income during that time, according to the Washington Post. It was reported in June that Trump might have paid no taxes for two years in the early 1990s.
According to Politico, Trump fears that if the public saw his taxes, his Russian connections would be known. He had said in October last year: “The reason they blame Russia [for hacking into Democratic emails] is they are trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know about Russia, but not about the inner workings. I have no business there and no loans from Russia. I have a great balance sheet.” What Trump said was different from the claims the Trump Organization made before he decided to run for president.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., said at a real estate conference in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets” and “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” Politico reported in October last year.
Chris Murphy, a junior senator from Connecticut, also believes that an investigation into Trump’s tax returns could focus on his “bizarre positioning” toward Russia. “Legislation establishing a special Senate committee could theoretically give it the power to get these tax returns. That is fully within the power of the United States Congress,” Murphy told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last month.