The world wasn't exactly shaken to its core after two pages of Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns were revealed. Many have already been quick to note that the two pages provide nothing to support the worst suspicions about Trump's undisclosed taxes, suspicions that dogged his campaign. Still, the news is important, and if you didn't catch it Tuesday night, then you should watch Rachel Maddow's Trump's 2005 tax returns segment.
Really, it's worth watching the full show to get Maddow's full story on why Trump's tax returns are so in demand, and why Trump might not be willing to share them. She didn't hurry straight to the scoop. However, her long lead-up covered a lot of her previous analysis on Trump's potentially shadowy financial ties and the questions that that extant reporting on Trump's taxes and financial dealings raised. Yes, watch the segment about the returns, but don't miss the part that explains why they're so important, and why we really need to know more. If you don't have time to sit down and watch everything, then you can also download the Rachel Maddow Show as a podcast and listen to it.
In addition to her own analysis of the situation, Maddow also speaks to David Cay Johnston, the founder of DCReport.org, who received the leaked tax documents and broke the exclusive. He's an expert on financial matters and Trump, having covered both for decades. Johnston even wrote the Trump biography The Making of Donald Trump — so his thoughts are definitely worth hearing.
Among the most important points he makes are those regarding not what the taxes show, but instead what they don't show. Johnston also speculates that Trump could have leaked the returns himself. There's no evidence that that is the case. However, it could make sense. Perhaps, Trump or someone from his administration would believe that the release would calm the myriad calls for a deeper look into his financial history.
I don't know who on Trump's staff came up with the idea to leak a POSITIVE tax return to Maddow but that person needs a promotion.— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) March 15, 2017
The main point that Maddow and Johnston keep coming back to, though, is that Trump's behavior surrounding his tax returns suggests that he has something to hide. Maddow advertised the big tax return scoop on Twitter, but the show only spends a little bit of time on the content of those returns themselves. The most important thing, she seems to want to stress, is the information that the public still doesn't have.