Last night far-left MSNBC primetime host Rachel Maddow tweeted she had Trump's tax returns (presumably President Trump's), throwing the entire media complex into a frenzy. The hype was on, big time.
BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
Viewers, most who regularly don't tune in for her show, anxiously waited for the clock to strike 9 p.m. on the East Coast and then...Maddow gave a monologue for the entire first segment about Trump's alleged ties to Russia. She never said the information being espoused came from the tax return she had in her hand, which was our first clue the story was a bust.
When the second segment started, Maddow proudly stated she had obtained two pages of a single 2005 tax return belonging to Donald Trump. This is when it became increasingly clear the story had been set up by a source and not in the way Maddow intended. By the time she finally got to investigative journalist David Johnston, who received the tax return in his mailbox, it was clear this "leak" was more than likely a strategically placed document.
And there it is: David Johnston says Trump may have leaked the return to him, or someone close to him on his behalf— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) March 15, 2017
To say her exclusive report fell flat is an understatement. The bait had been set and Maddow took it, big league.
First clue: Why would someone leak a portion of a single year of Trump's tax return?
Maddow's first clue was the limited number of pages of a single return released. If someone with malicious intent or even someone who believes the public has a right know, really wanted to make a difference by exposing Trump's tax returns, they would have leaked at least ten years and dozens of pages. After all, unauthorized release of tax returns is a felony. Why risk federal prison for two pages?
More likely? Someone close to Trump, either at the White House or through his business, placed the return in the mailbox as a lure.
Second clue: The information in the two page return was very favorable to Trump
The only information contained in Trump's return proved two things: he was very successful in 2005 and paid more than his fair share in taxes.
What did we learn? Then private citizen Trump paid a higher percentage than Pres Obama, Sen Sanders and even NBC's parent company Comcast pic.twitter.com/bG2RUevt3F— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 15, 2017
Third clue: White House rapid response
Before Maddow's big moment, the White House published the same two pages from the 2005 return and gave it to a number of media outlets. How did they know Maddow had the 2005 return? And just two pages? Further, they had a prepared statement ready to go.
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 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.
Blinded by her hatred for Trump and Russian derangement, Maddow failed to slow down, take a breathe and think about the information in her possession. She not only embarrassed herself, but the left as a whole. Further, she shifted the news cycle away from GOP infighting on Obamacare. Because there was nothing salacious in the two page return, every network ran with the headline "Trump makes $150 million, paid $38 million in taxes." According to the Joe Biden standard, Trump is far more patriotic when it comes to paying taxes than Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders.
If Maddow really wanted to keep the tax return/Russian connection story alive, she would have shown the two pages, pointed out they show nothing and then should have argued more must be released. Instead, she did the opposite.
Now, are President Trump's tax returns of high interest? Of course they are. The majority of Americans believe he should release them as every other President has done. But that's not the point.
In the end, Maddow did herself and those watching a disservice by hyping two pages of a return and knocked the credibility of her fellow Democrats in the process.
The holy grailhttps://t.co/h3in4N1lyK— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) March 14, 2017
But hey, at least she raked in the ratings.
Dems should return focus to Trumpcare tomorrow & the millions it will leave uninsured, not get distracted by two pages from '05 tax return— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) March 15, 2017
UPDATE: President Trump tells Fox News' Tucker Carlson he has "no idea" where MSNBC got the tax return but that it wasn't "unfavorable."