Rachel Maddow Donald Trump Tax Returns

Rachel Maddow Analyzes President Donald Trump's 2005 Tax Returnzzz (Was the Report Over-Hyped?)

It was the moment that set the Twitterverse ablaze (see ya, #blizzard2017!) on Tuesday: Rachel Maddow announced that MSNBC had obtained President Donald Trump‘s tax returns, suggesting that all would be revealed live on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Maddow then followed that tweet with another, clarifying which documents her show actually obtained:

Minutes before the broadcast, the White House released a statement, referring to Maddow and MSNBC as being “desperate for ratings.” Read it in full below:

Maddow began Tuesday’s show by explaining that the returns were obtained by “David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.” She then explained that the mere fact that this is the first time any of Trumps’ tax returns have been handed to a reporter “may be the most important part of the story.”

She then recalled Trump’s frequent explanation for not releasing his tax returns — that he was currently being audited — and dismissed it as “not an excuse.” To his supporters, she said, “It ought to give you pause that his explanations never made factual sense.”


Further questions posed: “Is he not as rich as he says he is? 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.”

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Maddow admitted about the documents, which she insists were not “illegally published,” despite the White House’s statement above. The documents reveal that the president made more than $150 million in 2005 and paid $38 million in taxes.

In the end, the documents didn’t contain any overt bombshells which led some — including Johnston, who was given the documents anonymously — to wonder if Trump leaked them himself.

“Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when it’s in his interest,” Johnston reminded Maddow. For all we know, Johnston added, Trump even could have released the “very sleazy girl-on-girl pictures of the First Lady” to the New York Post.

Trump’s tax returns have long been a point of contention in the political sphere. While it’s been customary for major presidential candidates to release their tax returns — every one since President Gerald Ford in 1978, according to The New York Times — Trump has repeatedly refused to do so.

Do you feel that Maddow’s report was a victory against Trump? Or do you agree with the White House, that this was an over-hyped ratings grab by MSNBC? Drop a comment with your position below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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68 Comments
  1. Bella says:

    Who cares?

  2. skrable2a says:

    12 year old tax returns? That seems … underwhelming

    • DL says:

      It’s not. People are just ignoring the actual point of this disclosure. Trump only paid a semi-normal tax rate due to the “alternative minimum tax.” He is on the record as wanting to abolish the AMT. Therefore, we can see quite plainly Trump wants to pass a tax reform agenda that will benefit him to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, every single year. And considering many of the Trump Organization’s rank-and-file employees are low-wage workers brought in from Eastern Europe, and that many of his holdings are overseas, don’t think for a second much of those tens of millions in Trump’s pocket will benefit America or Americans in any way. He’s the one who said it’s a “rigged system,” so why is he rigging it even more?

      • Charles says:

        you are dumb. ’nuff said

      • Shawn says:

        Do you know that this return showed he paid a higher rate of taxes than Obama and Bernie Sanders? I agree it’s rigged for all rich people with loopholes. But if it’s rigged it is a bipartisan issue both parties are benefitting. You are blind if you can’t see that.

  3. Marie58 says:

    Why is this even a TVLine story? So dumb.

    • peterwdawson says:

      TV event that attracted a government response. It’s the same as when they talked about Trump commenting on Arnold being fired from the Apprentice: it didn’t really matter, but sadly when the POTUS/White House react to someone so specifically it’s worth reporting by default, agree or not.

    • Tyre says:

      Because they are as obsessed and scared of him as the rest of the media. I call it Trumpaphobia.

  4. french5851 says:

    WOW! Can’t wait to watch… I am hoping to see how much he earns from Russian companies and other foreign governments…

  5. Harris says:

    Isn’t it illegal to disclose this info. publically?

    • Carla Krae says:

      Yes. It’s a felony for an IRS employee to reveal anyone’s tax returns.

      • Paul says:

        MSNBC and David Cay Johnston are not IRS employees. They are covered 100% by the first amendment to report this information. It’s even being speculated by some and David Cay Johnston agreed, that it is possible that Donald Trump mailed him the returns.

        • pAloma says:

          In order to make something of the tax returns we’d need to see the rest of the pages. Hard to believe someone would acquire only the two pages of the 1040 forms and not the schedules, which also tends to support the thought that Trump sent them himself as a preemptive strike.

        • The IRS employee that leaked these should face the same legal consequences that they would for releasing any other person’s private tax returns. MSNBC may not have violated any laws, but publishing these returns was highly unethical. They reported on information that was stolen and unlike the emails that Wikileaks released last year on Dems, these are personal tax records filed with the IRS which are much more serious.

  6. wancell69 says:

    What a jip. Talk about misleading and overhyping.

  7. Collette says:

    Relentless stupidity.

  8. Tee Hee says:

    Looks like the Madcow is serving up nothingburgers again.

  9. Harris says:

    she has nothing

  10. Carla Krae says:

    It is illegal to leak those tax returns out of the IRS, and probably illegal for a reporter to possess them. Stop encouraging these people.

    • Wooster182 says:

      It is not illegal for the reporter to have it. The most important thing about this entire story is the White House calling out the actions of the press as illegal. That’s dangerous.

  11. hbaker129 says:

    Watergate took months and months of seemly innocuous news stories to get to resignations and indictments. This is an important step in exposing Trump and associates of all wrongdoing.

    • Brock Hard says:

      Yes, Watergate didn’t happen overnight. It was a series of constant drips until it became a flood even the President couldn’t contain.

  12. MrMank says:

    Of course it was overhyped! Just a lame, desperate attempt by MSNBC for ratings, and just more blind swinging by the left. It just keeps getting funnier and funnier.

  13. Ana says:

    This reminded me of Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s vault. A lot of hoopla and in the end nothing was uncovered.

  14. David Hess says:

    The question should be, does this change anything? The answer: probably not. The country will still be divided, Trump will still be president and Trump and MSNBC will continue to despise each other.

  15. ZzzzzZZZzzzZZzzz
    And still waiting for Obama’s school records…
    Anything?
    Bueller?

  16. Harris says:

    So Madcow just showed that Trump paid a higher tax rate than Obama

    Trump – 24%

    Obama – 19%

    • Coop says:

      Almost double what Bernie Sanders paid in his showcased year too. In fact, Trump paid too much, 2-3% higher than the other top 1%. Hopefully he got himself a new set of accountants for 2006.

      How Maddow didn’t look at this return and realize it would make her look like an idiot for pumping it is shocking. Did anyone not clue her in and say that this would actually make Trump look better? Now she’s getting torched on twitter and laughed at by pretty much everyone. Bipartisanship!

  17. Raven says:

    Now let’s see 2016 and 2017..if you want your taxes private then don’t run for public office..we deserve to know if he is working on behalf of self interest and since this is the most dishonest president since Nixon then we need to know more.

    I am tired of our taxes paying for a trip to Mara logo (trumps) EVERY DAMN WEEKEND!
    His wife living in New York paying over 1 million a day for security and he uses the security as a sales pitch for little bing in trump tower…this guy is scum bag taking the US for all we will let him!

  18. dan says:

    Fantastic job, Maddow. Trump appreciates the help. This was her Capone’s Vault moment.

  19. Coop says:

    Rachel Maddow is a complete moron. Congratulations on helping Trump change the news cycle and give him positive coverage coming out of this, I guess? Whoever gave that to Johnston (assuming they’re somehow connected to Trump) deserves a huge raise.

  20. Snazzy says:

    The Donald delivered this — it also tells us nothing. A real diversion.

  21. But wait? Didn’t the press put out there that Donald Trump hadn’t paid taxes for the last 18 yrs? So which is it? He paid taxes in 2005 or he paid no taxes in 18 yrs?

    • herman1959 says:

      I believe the story was that because of the size of the business loss written off many years ago, it would have been POSSIBLE for Trump to pay no income tax for that year and the next 17. The assumption being that it would explain why he would have paid little or no taxes.

      • Mel says:

        NY Times and other outlets trumpeted how Trump may not have paid taxes for 18 years. Pure speculation, which is NOT their job. Their job is to report the news. By your logic, they could have speculated that Hillary Clinton may have murdered Vince Foster. It’s possible right, so therefore it’s OK to report it? WRONG.

        Yet another example of the dishonest media.

        • KCC says:

          They also reported on Obama wiretapping Trump. At this point, pure speculation repeated by Trump himself based on some news report he heard. If the media is so unreliable why does Trump listen to it and repeat their reports as fact? Why is the mainstream media the only ones that have an agenda? If you mistrust the media, you have to mistrust all media, not just the outlets that don’t share your beliefs and worldview. Calling a media outlet dishonest because the news it reports is unpleasant or doesn’t subscribe to your viewpoint it the definition of closed minded.

        • herman1959 says:

          Excuse me, Mel, but when you write “By your logic…” who are you referring to? I merely answered a question about the content of the news story, it’s not “my” logic.

      • Eurydice says:

        Assumptions and possibilities belong in the op-ed pages, not the front page. The MSM have been announcing this stuff as real news for almost 2 years. Now they’re back-pedaling by saying these were only possibilities. For years, they (both the left and right) have been peddling opinions instead of facts because their mission is to get ratings, not to be informative. Now it’s biting them in the rear end and I’m happy to see it.

  22. Stacia says:

    Wasn’t your argument that he didn’t pay taxes??? Looks like he paid alot. So now whats your beef?? Seriously Rachael maddow Can we see some real news??

  23. Chuck says:

    The shortsightedness going on here is why we’re in the situation we have now with a Trump presidency. Was the report overhyped? Maybe. But the two pages “leaked” (probably by Trump) do not tell a complete story and that was the point. We’ve seen a few numbers there that weren’t unexpected. It’s the rest of this return that wasn’t released that we should now demand to see. All this was show so Trump could pull a Nixon and say “I am not a crook, believe me.” Nixon said those words in regards to his tax returns, and two years later he resigned when we all learned he was, in fact, a crook. It was tax returns that brought Nixon (and Al Capone, by the way) down, not Watergate, and the reason why we demand to see them from a presidential candidate. If we just look at these two pages presented on this one hour of television and are more upset that the Trump administration didn’t immediately crumble, then that shines a light on us as being the problem here. After seeing this, we should now more than ever be demanding to see the rest of the form that wasn’t leaked, as well as the rest of his tax returns. Trump famously called Hillary Clinton “Crooked Hillary” for two years, yet she presented every single tax return going back to the 1970s. So instead of saying this was a bust, start asking yourself what is he really hiding from us?

  24. Ange says:

    Yes the report was overhyped because these are not the returns in question. Sad to think all of the people not paid so he could consider himself a millionaire.

  25. That Tax return is fake and was planted to be leaked to make Trump looked good . It’s FAKE I’ve just being informed by an Ex – IRS auditor that was familiar with trump’s Taxes that Trump paid Zero Taxes in 2005 You’ve been had ! As long as Ask Mr Trump to confirm it and he would not for he knows it’s fake and bogus planted by Breibart to make Trump look good !!!!! Rachel , you’ve been had and used !!!!

  26. Shawn says:

    Even liberals were crying over the lame presentation on twitter last night. (She talked to a balloon) This was a ratings stunt that backfired: 1)It showed Trump pays a higher rate than Obama and Bernie Saunders. 2) Her delay allowed 40 news outlets and the white house to scoop her by the time she finally talked about it. 3) Her bloviating turned off people of all political stripes. 4) it harmed the reputation of honest and solid journalists

    The news media has officially ‘jumped the shark” with this stunt. Their obsession with trying to “Gotcha” Trump is not setting well because for 6months they have perpetuated a story that has no evidence. The trust in media is exhausted with their constant nitpicking. It’s sort of like the “Boy who Cried Wolf” something truly bad will happen and no one will trust it.

  27. Carrie says:

    What’s wrong with you people!?! This isn’t reality tv, or entertainment. It’s news! She got the returns, she explained and reported. That’s her job. Maybe if you didn’t expect everything to have he drama of Survivor or American idol we wouldn’t have a jackass of a reality tv host for a president.

    • Eurydice says:

      Well, that’s what happens when news is run by entertainment companies, when celebrities get more press than people who actually do things, when students are taught that truth is relative and everyone’s personal opinions are right. This has been going on for decades, so it’s not surprising to see these values being elevated into our political sphere.

    • Carrie says:

      Also, why is the issue the interestingness of 12 yr old returns? Shouldn’t it be why don’t we have access to Trump’s full returns for the last few years. If there is nothing interesting in them why not release them??

    • Collette says:

      As “news” it maybe deserved one line on page 12 below the fold.

  28. S says:

    Thanks to a world where we all want instant gratification, people are dismissing this as overhyped. In reality, she used a captive audience to drop bread crumbs that hopefully other journalists will pick up on.

    It also shows that he wants to change tax code to benefit himself. These two pages are just one piece of the puzzle. Exposing corruption, especially when it could lead to impeachment of a President, takes time.

    And shame on TVLine for this bs.

    • Collette says:

      Everyone wants to change the tax code to benefit themselves. With the exception of spontaneous reactions in emergencies everyone does everything for selfish reasons. From greed to religious fanaticism to self sacrifice people do what they do to feel good for and about themselves.

  29. Gordon Rick says:

    It does not matter what the returns say, someone is going to criticize. Democrats blasted Romney because he only paid 25% (disregarded the 10% he gave to charity). Republicans criticized Obama for making so much money off of his book deals. No matter what a candidate taxes say someone is going to make it an big deal. I do not blame candidates for not releasing their returns any more.

  30. sarah t says:

    Can we add a third voting button for “no to TV Line constantly reporting on politics”

  31. larry says:

    So Obama spends 39 MILLION U S tax dollars in legal expenses in order to keep things done in his administration secret and THIS is the big story? Seriously? Once again, it’s just shows the real stupidity of liberals………

  32. Leia says:

    She got punked big time, what a sucker, and what a deranged left wing conspiracy Nut job

  33. Steve Snoke says:

    What a moron. How stupid do you libtards think we are.. Liberals through out history have ruined many nations. I suggest you look at history, OPP’s they also like to revise history Give me a break. I cannot stand you people..

  34. She should be in a hospital.