On Tuesday, Rachel Maddow announced that MSNBC had obtained Donald Trump's tax documents from 2005. As it turns out, the discovery can be attributed to DCReport founder and Pulitzer prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston. On Maddow's show that same evening, he claimed something rather surprising: the tax documents supposedly just showed up in his mailbox on Tuesday morning. While there's a certain air of mystery surrounding the scenario, he's not ruling out the possibility that Trump himself leaked the 2005 tax return documents.
The White House published a statement in response to Maddow's announcement. Needless to say, its accusatory tone does not make it seem as though it was happy about the leak.
But maybe it isn't so simple.
"It's possible Donald Trump sent them to me," says @DavidCayJ. "Or could have been leaked by someone in his direction."— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) March 15, 2017
Trump's 2005 tax return documents aren't necessarily explosive. In fact, they could be perceived as bolstering the businessman-turn-president's reputation as a tax-paying citizen. Cay Johnston certainly hasn't suggested this is impossible either. Is it a strange strategy? Yes, but this has been a strange year.
It's also odd that the tax returns were from 2005, rendering them less relevant over a decade later at this point. On top of that, only two pages of the tax returns were revealed by MSNBC and Cay Johnston — that certainly doesn't provide the entire picture. But it might temporarily satisfy those who have been demanding at least a fraction of Trump's secretive tax returns.
Still, there's the possibility that this leak had nothing to do with the Trump administration and was instead intended to pressure the president to release even more complete tax return documents, the BBC notes.
Regardless, this is certainly one of the more mysterious political findings of this year.