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The White House was left fuming Tuesday night as Rachel Maddow revealed that she had obtained Donald Trump's tax returns, which he filed in conjunction with wife Melania.
In her MSNBC show, Maddow said that the 2005 document had been obtained by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who received it from an unknown source in his mail box.
It showed that Trump earned $253 million that year but wrote off $103 million as losses, which lowered the amount of tax he had to pay dramatically.
In response, an indignant White House told CNN: 'You know you are desperate for ratings when you're prepared to violate the law to push a story about tax returns from over a decade ago.'
Donald Trump's tax returns for 2005 have been obtained by Rachel Maddow (pictured). A furious White House claimed that he paid $38m on a $150m income that year - an inflated sum
The release concludes that 'it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns,' and fired off a parting shot about the 'dishonest media.'
Johnston told Maddow that as he had not solicited the documents, neither he nor Maddow had done anything illegal.
Maddow added that the First Amendment protected her right to report on the documents, which were the first two pages of his 2005 1040 form.
The second page was stamped 'client copy,' leading to speculation online that Trump may have leaked the documents himself to distract from the continuing investigation into his Russian ties and the GOP's swingeing Medicare cuts.
The White House claimed in its statement that Trump paid $38 million on an income of $150 million that year, in addition to sales and excise taxes and employment taxes.
Johnston said that they had fudged the numbers to make it look like he had paid more income tax than he really did.
Trump paid $5.3m in regular federal tax. He also paid $31 million in 'alternative minimum tax', which he wants to abolish. The rest of the White House's figure comes from his payroll taxes, not his income as it claimed
Trump made a total income of $253 million in 2005, but wrote off $103 million in losses, according to the document.
Money came from the sale of two New York properties to the Chinese as well as a salary from The Apprentice, which had premiered the previous year.
The documents show Trump and wife Melania paid $5.3 million in regular federal income tax, at a very low rate of less than 3.5 per cent.
Trump also paid $31 million in the 'alternative minimum tax,' which is something that the president has previously said he wanted to abolish.
That's an effective federal tax rate of 24.2 per cent in 2005, compared with 13.5 per cent paid by Bernie Sanders in 2014 and 14.1 per cent by Mitt Romney in 2011, according to statements they have released during their presidential campaigns.
The additional money used by the White House to round it up to $38 million 'includes his self-employment payroll tax, most of which is Medicare, not income tax,' Johnston said.
'If we didn't have the alternative minimum tax,' Johnston said, 'he would have paid tax at a lower tax rate than the poorest people in this country.'
The documents also show that Trump was continuing to benefit in 2005 from the $916 million loss he reported in 1995, a trick that was closed by Congress in 1996.
Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston (pictured) said that he found the documents in his mail box, but did not know who supplied them
The documents show that Trump paid most of his tax through 'alternative minimum tax,' which he has said he wants to abolish, and that he used a loss registered in 1995 to lower his taxes
In the run-up to the presidental election, Trump became the first presidential candidate since Richard Nixon's era to refuse to disclose his tax returns.
He claimed at the time that his tax returns could not be released because he was under audit, although the IRS said there was no legal restriction on releasing taxes while under audit.
The hefty business revealed in the documents on Tuesday appears to be a continued benefit from his use of a tax loophole in the 1990s, which allowed him to deduct previous losses in future years.
In 1995, he reported a loss of more than 900 million dollars (£740 million), largely as a result of financial turmoil at his casinos.
Tax records obtained by The New York Times last year showed the losses were so large they could have allowed Mr Trump to avoid paying taxes for up to 18 years.
But his 2005 filing shows another tax prevented him from realizing the full benefit of those deductions.
In response to the White House's announcement about Trump's taxes, the DNC said on Tuesday night that their 'willingness to release some tax information when it suits them proves Donald Trump's audit excuse is a sham.
'If they can release some of the information, they can release all of the information.
'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.'
Johnston continued his appearance on the show by explaining that the Trumps made $418,000 a day while paying the equivalent tax of a middle-class American couple, having received a 20 per cent 'discount' on their taxes.
Johnston also said the document only describes the types of income, not their sources, and asked who had paid him.
Trump has associated with both US and Russian criminals during his life, he claimed, and the party he owes the most money to is a bank run by the Chinese Government.
'I grew up in the Cold War,' Johnson asked. 'The thought that Republicans would defend a president who would defend a man who for 30 years has been around Russians - not Russia... and owes money to Beijing?'
He then feigned a panic attack.
The DNC said that if the White House could confirm Trump's 2005 taxes, it could release his other documents, and suggested that illegal ties to foreign powers was holding them back
The first page of Donald Trump's tax return, which was leaked to David Cay Johnston
The second and final page of the leak, which was confirmed as real by the White House. The page is stamped 'client copy' leading to speculation that Trump leaked it himself
Despite Maddow's excitement, the response from some Democrats has been muted, some suggesting that it had been leaked to distract from swingeing Medicaid cuts.
'Focus! $880b cut in Medicaid in order to pay for a $880b tax cut for rich,' wrote Hawaii senator Brian Schatz. 'Plus an age tax.'
'Most interesting # in Trump's taxes: 24,000,000,' said John Dingell, former congressman from Michigan's 12th district.
'Oh no wait that's just how many Americans will lose health care under his terrible plan.'
And Brian Fallon, former press secretary for Hillary Clinton, said: 'Dems should return focus to Trumpcare tomorrow & the millions it will leave uninsured, not get distracted by two pages from '05 tax return.'
Later on Tuesday, during MSNBC's 11th Hour With Brian Williams, it was noted that the documents came from a lucrative year for Trump that would portray his business acumen in a strong light - and did not show where the money came from.
Earlier, in Maddow's show, Johnston had speculated that Trump might have leaked the documents himself, saying he had leaked information many times before 'when it was in his interest'.
And the words 'client copy' stamped on the second page of the document led to speculation that Trump had leaked them himself.
John Dingell, a former congressman from Michigan's 12th district, said that the release was a distraction from Trump's Medicaid cuts
Hawaii senator Brian Schatz told Democrats to 'focus' on Medicaid cuts, not Trump's taxes, saying they were there to help give a tax cut to the rich
Brian Fallon, former press secretary for Hillary Clinton, said that Democrats should focus on 'Trumpcare'
Johnston told Rachel Maddow that Trump had leaked things before when it had helped him advance his own goals
Tweeting after the show, Donald Trump Jr wrote: 'Thank you Rachel Maddow for proving to your #Trump hating followers how successful @realDonaldTrump is & that he paid $40mm in taxes! #Taxes.'
He then tweeted several more times on the same theme, adding 'Now @CNN is upset that the returns that they have been dying to get their hands on for 18 months are out but it doesn't fit their narrative!'
'Watching the media aka #fakenews implode on tv now because they got what they wanted is simply awesome. #thankyoumaddow #TrumpTaxReturns'
'BREAKING NEWS: 12 years ago @realDonaldTrump made a lot of money and paid a lot in taxes #scandal #thankyouMaddow'
Responding to Donald Jr's first tweet on The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell - the show that followed her own on MSNBC's schedules - Maddow said the point of the tax returns was not about how much Trump made.
Rather, she said, it was important to know how he made it, and whether he might have compromised America in doing so.
After the show Donald Trump Jr said that Maddow was 'proving' that his father is 'successful'. Maddow said the point was to question how Trump got his money, and from whom
Donald Jr continued to Tweet, saying that it didn't fit CNN's 'narrative'. There had been speculation that Trump had no paid taxes after reporting massive losses in 1995
Donald Jr went on to repeat his father's claim that news stations critical about his administration are 'fake news'
Donald Jr continued to mock Maddow, ignoring her concerns about Trump's alleged dodgy dealings with foreign powers and instead focusing on the fact that his father made money
Maddow responded Donald Jr's tweets on The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell (pictured), saying the point of the documents was to look at whether Trump compromised US security
Maddow suggested at the top of the show that the tax returns might shed light on Trump's own dealings, many of which have been opaque until now.
She reeled off a list of questions about Trump's international relationships: Why did Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev pay $95 million for Donald Trump's Palm Beach mansion in 2008, more than $50 million he originally paid, she asked?
Why was attorney general Preet Bharara fired two days after being asked to investigate whether Trump had foreign sources of income?
Why was Michael Flynn allowed to be close to the Trump campaign while acting as a lobbyist for Turkey?
She admitted that this one document would not answer those questions - but said this was 'a start.'
Hillary Clinton released her tax returns stretching back to 1997.
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Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4314620/Maddow-reveals-Trump-s-tax-returns-White-House-furious.html