What’s in Donald Trump’s tax returns?
The simple question has simmered under many of the president’s controversies, ranging from his personal wealth (Is he actually as rich as he claims? Does he pay taxes on it?) to his Russia policies (Does he owe money to Kremlin-linked banks?).
On the Tuesday night broadcast of her eponymous show, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow revealed his most recent returns yet: the president’s 1040 form from 2005. The document shows him paying roughly $38 million in taxes on $150 million in income that year. She credited David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Daily Beast columnist, with obtaining the documents through an anonymous source in his mailbox.
Fueling the speculation was Trump’s break with tradition during the presidential campaign, when he became the first candidate since the Watergate era to not release his personal tax returns. A recent poll found that 74 percent of Americans want him to release them, but Trump frequently cited an ongoing IRS audit as his reason to not make them public. (The IRS said that’s not an impediment to their release.) Those evasions transformed the documents into something of a holy grail for journalists and his political opponents, shrouded in mystery and laden with sinister connotations.