by Graham Pierrepoint
Of all the matters that US President Donald Trump has come under scrutiny for in the past few months, there have been fewer more contentious than his tax returns. Despite claims that he would reveal his financial contributions ahead of becoming US head of state, this was soon shot down shortly after he took office – leading many opponents of the outspoken statesman to wonder why there was such a refusal. There have been various claims made against Trump’s financial affairs in the past, even before he took to the campaign trail and became the latest President – and it appears that someone has opened up a fresh can of worms by revealing a statement of taxation dating back to 2005.
Rachel Maddow, hosting on MSNBC, revealed that two pages of Trump’s returns from 2005 had been obtained, and that they had been delivered by a journalist who received them via mail. The pages of the return are thought to detail a $105 million loss write-down, and that both the President and First Lady Melania Trump paid a total of $36.3 million in tax, with this shared between $5.3 million on income tax and $31 million on ‘alternative minimum’ tax, according to the Daily Record. It’s thought that these payments were made towards income totaling more than $150 million altogether.
The White House responded to the leak by stating that the show was ‘willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago’. The statement observed that $38 million had been paid by Trump in addition to paying towards employment taxes and excise. The statement, in fact, focused more on the claim of the leaked document having been revealed in an illegal capacity – pointing out a ‘dishonest media’ that the President and his team has largely commented on throughout his first few weeks in charge. Can the data provided really be put down to ‘fake news’ this time, however?
It is clear why there was a scramble for Trump’s tax returns to be revealed on-air – his details had been kept under close guard ever since he took office and it is not yet clear whether the remainder of his records will be brought to light. It is even less clear, too, where the war between Trump and the media will end.