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Out journalist Rachel Maddow did what reporters have been trying to do for years -- show the public a leaked copy of a Donald Trump tax return.
Well, it was only two pages of one year (2005) and there was nothing inherently incriminating, though Maddow did tee up the segment with a long intro on the president's very close and questionable financial dealings with Russian oligarchs. Maddow highlighted the president's flawed reasoning for not releasing his tax returns and underlined the importance of the public seeing them in light of the numerous investigations into his campaign's dealings with Russian officials, some of whom worked to influence the 2016 election in his favor. Maddow insinuated that Trump may owe favors to powerful Russian figures in exchange for their loans or gifts.
An interesting facet of the returns, which were mailed to Pulitzer Prize-winning financial journalist David Cay Johnston, was that Trump paid $38 million in taxes in 2005, but $31 million of that went to an "alternative minimum tax." TheWashington Postdescribed the alternative minimum tax as a "supplemental tax designed to cut down on filers with excessive deductions." Trump has said he wants to abolish the alternative minimum tax; had Trump not had to pay such a fee, he would have paid a tax rate lower than that of some of the poorest Americans, Johnston pointed out.
Johnston also said Trump may have mailed the two-page tax form himself, since it at least showed him paying taxes, not to mention that it could distract from the investigations of Russia by the CIA and FBI as well as the damning report on the president's health care plan from the Congressional Budget Office, which said Trumpcare would knock 24 million people off the insurance rolls.
"It's entirely possible that Donald sent this to me," Johnston told Maddow. "Donald Trump has over the years leaked all sorts of things; the very sleazy girl-on-girl pictures of the first lady in the New York Post may have come from Donald. The front pages of the state tax returns ... that were sent to TheNew York Times ... last fall may have come from Donald. Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it's in his interest."