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Much has been made about President Trump’s unwillingness to release his tax returns. There’s been some movement on this issue. Rachel Maddow has obtained a copy of one of Trump’s previous returns and has just aired the numbers on live television.

 

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This late-breaking news comes as Pulitzer-prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston somehow gained access to a copy of President Donald Trump’s 2005 federal tax returns. He partnered with MSNBC’s Maddow to take them public.

The President’s critics, hoping to find some act of malfeasance, have been clamoring for the release of his tax returns ever since he declared his candidacy. Trump, for his part, continues to insist that Americans don’t care about his tax returns.

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As his nomination became a certainty, Trump claimed that he would gladly release his tax information, if it weren’t for the audit being conducted by the Internal Revenue Service.

Maddow announced she had the information in what was a short build up for the big reveal.

Almost as soon as she did, The White House released their own statement.

“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.”

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As to Maddow’s attempt to grab attention, The White House had this to say: “You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago.”

Before tonight’s Maddow reveal, the best anyone had was this return from 1995:

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Soon after Maddow’s announcement, the White House responded that Trump had paid $38 million in taxes on income of more than $150 million. Trump, the White House said, had a responsibility “to pay no more tax than legally required.”

Will this finally be the opening the Democrats have been hoping for?