Rachel Maddow Reveals Donald Trump Tax Return, Twitter Loses Its Mind

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Note to Kim Kardashian:

If you really want to break the Internet, do not pose naked again.

Just get your hands on Donald Trump's tax returns.

At 6:36 EST on Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow Tweeted the following:

maddow tweet

Over the course of the next two-plus hours, in anticipation of her show on MSNBC, social media exploded with speculation over just what these tax returns might reveal.

It was understandable curiosity as well, considering Trump became the first Presidential candidate in decades last year to NOT reveal these documents to the public.

Prior to taking to the air, Maddow wrote a follow-up Tweet in which she said she had obtained Trump's "1040 form" from 2005.

Again, the Internet was left to wonder what this could mean.

Would the tax return shed light on Trump's foreign financial dealings?

Would we learn more about his ties to Russia?

Would we discover that the President was in enormous debt? Not nearly as wealthy as he's claimed to be? Is a fraud and a liar and a danger to the country?

Rachel Maddow with Tax Return

Nope, nope and nope.

As it turns out, an anonymous source released the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax returns to Trump biographer and investigative journalist David Cay Johnston.

Much to the chagrin of Twitter users everywhere, Maddow used the first 15 minutes of her program to provide background on the entire tax return fiasco, explaining why Trump's declaration that he cannot release these papers because he's under audit "doesn't make any sense."

She went on to say that his reluctance to be open with the public ought to give absolutely everyone "pause."

“Is he not as rich as he says he is?" she asked.

"Is he not as charitable as he says he is? Whether it’s for small reasons or big reasons, there has been an unrelenting demand to see his tax returns.”

And then we saw them.

Or two pages of an old one, at least.

Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, joined Maddow to discuss the returns, saying that they showed Trump had reported $150 million of income in 2005 and paid $38 million in taxes on it.

Through legal loopholes, he managed to bring down his tax burden a bit... but whatever.

There was certainly no bombshell attached to the documents that were presented on air.

Donald Trump Signs Order

Nor did Maddow claim there to be.

She was more focused on opening up the tax return door once again, emphasizing to viewers why it's so important that we have a look at Trump's financial background.

She also "the most important part of the story" may be the fact that an anonymous source simply dropped these two 1040 pages in Johnston's mailbox.

Would more leaks follow? And just who decided to make these documents (which we've posted below) public?

Sharp viewers noticed that page two of the tax returns read "Client Copy," strongly implying that someone close to Trump sent them to Johnston.

Heck, Johnston wondered whether Trump himself was the source of the leak.

Donald Trump Tax Return, Page 1

Why would the President possibly do this?

Presumably to distract the public from the Republican alternative to Obamacare, a health care plan that has been lambasted by both sides of the political aisle.

Or possibly to make himself look trustworthy because these particular documents do not reveal anything of shady interest to the public.

They shed no light on just where Trump does business or what ties he may have to countries that are not the United States.

Donald Trump Tax Return, Page 2

The White House, meanwhile, stoked this report ahead of Maddow's show.

In response to the original promotional Tweet, the administration released a statement saying Trump had a responsibility to “pay no more tax than legally required.”

It reads as follows:

Before being elected President, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required.

That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.

Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns.

The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans. 

So... you tell us:

Was this much ado over nothing?

Did Maddow pull one over on viewers?

Will this backfire against the progressive MSNBC anchor and fire up Trump's base, along with Republican officials?

Rachel Maddow at Work

Or was this the first step in what will be a long investigation into Trump's financial dealings and we just need to be patient?

There's certainly no doubt that Maddow's report on Tuesday night raised far more questions than it revealed answers.

But perhaps that was the point.

Perhaps these are questions the public ought to be contemplating and issues the press ought to be looking into. As much as it possibly can.

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