Everybody’s posting on Rachel Maddow’s debacle from last evening, where viewers sat through 20 minutes of preamble leading to this,
After the first break—at which point the tax returns were already available on the internet and glossed by the Daily Beast—Maddow was joined by Johnston, and she began by asking him how he knew Trump hadn’t sent the returns himself. Johnston said that he could have. A few hours after Maddow finished airing, this has become a popular conspiracy theory, simply because, if Donald Trump were to share any of his tax returns, the 2005 1040 seems like a good candidate. Trump paid taxes at a rate of around 4 percent, but because of the alternate minimum tax, he also paid an additional $31 million. The form revealed that, rather than not paying taxes and making no money, Trump paid $38 million on $150 million in income. Maddow promised to pull a sordid revelation out of a hat and instead plucked out … Trump’s credibility? Maddow was soon parsing, asking Johnston to explain that Trump is currently trying to do away with the AMT, which, unfair as it may be, still wouldn’t change the amount he paid in 2005.
As the show went on, it became clear that Maddow knew she didn’t quite have the scoop that had been promised.
The White House had already released a statement by the time she got around showing the 1040, not the full returns (which I expect would be hundreds of pages long).
Maddow doesn’t read the Wall Street Journal, or she would remember that almost exactly a year ago the Journal was reporting on the 2005 returns,
Unlike other candidates, Mr. Trump has refused to release even part of his federal income-tax returns, citing continuing audits. But county land records revealed that he has donated conservation easements on at least four of his properties: The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y., the New Jersey golf club and a golf driving range on the California coast. Three of the donations, including the Bedminster one, were made in December, when taxpayers are typically making deductions that can offset that year’s income.
Hillary Clinton last year claimed that Trump did not pay taxes.
Instead, the 1040 showed now-Pres. Trump paying $38 million in federal taxes alone, not including state income, real estate, and other local taxes. Maddox may have shot herself in the foot.
The troublesome question, which Pete brought up, is,
If the left considers it legit to leak Trump’s taxes illegally does that mean it’s open season on anyone they consider the enemy?
Look, if Pres. Trump himself put the 1040s in an envelope with two forever stamps, thereby pwning Maddow, Johnston, and everybody at NBC, it’s one thing. Conspiracy theories on MSNBC are nothing new.
But the fact remains that the unauthorized disclosure of tax return information is a crime – a felony under 26 U.S. Code § 7213. If you are not alarmed that the left justify committing felonies to bring down a political enemy, you are just not paying attention.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz posts on U.S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog