On Tuesday, Rachel Maddow announced that MSNBC had obtained President Trump's 2005 tax returns and would reveal them later on during her evening show. And then the White House went ahead and beat the news network to it, showing that Trump had paid a reported $38 million in federal taxes just over a decade ago. She may have not been the first to release the official numbers, but she certainly got the ball rolling. So, how did Maddow get Trump's 2005 tax returns in the first place?
It all started with a tweet from Maddow claiming that she had the documents. And her urgency suggests she knew how big of a deal this could be, considering Trump is the first president in a long time to refuse to release his tax returns to the public.
According to the New York Daily News, investigative journalist David Cay Johnston was responsible for MSNBC's getting its hands on the documents. The investigative tax reporter has won a Pulitzer prize and is the founder of DC Report, which keeps close tabs on what's happening in the capital — and more importantly, with Trump. Cay Johnston claimed later on during Maddow's show that the tax returns had mysteriously appeared in his mailbox earlier that same morning. He said he hasn't ruled out the possibility that Trump leaked it himself. The White House, on the other hand, alleges the documents' findings were illegally published, but revealed their findings before Maddow could nonetheless.
In a statement, the White House acknowledged that Trump took advantage of legal tax loops but ultimately paid his taxes.
Regardless of who leaked the tax returns to Cay Johnston, this tidbit of info will surely pressure Trump to release more documents in the future.