After reporter David Cay Johnston revealed President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax returns on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show Tuesday night, Trump tried to delegitimize the report in an early-morning tweet on Wednesday.
Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
However, the White House had confirmed the numbers in the tax return hours earlier.
Before Maddow and Johnston revealed Trump’s tax records on air, the White House preemptively issued a statement saying that the President earned $150 million and paid $38 million in income taxes in 2005.
“You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago,” the statement from the White House read.
It’s unclear who sent the tax returns to Johnston, a former tax reporter for the New York Times who wrote a book about Trump. Johnston said on MSNBC Tuesday night that Trump himself may have mailed him the records.
“Donald Trump has over the years leaked all sorts of things,” he said. “Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it’s in his interest.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 15, 2017