President Donald Trump may have leaked his own 2005 tax return, according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston.
Johnston said he obtained the document by mail. He subsequently shared those findings exclusively with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday.
“By the way, let me point out that it’s entirely possible that Donald Trump sent this to me. Donald Trump has, over the years, leaked all sorts of things,” said Johnston, founder of DCReport.org. Johnston won his Pulitzer in 2001 for his stories on the inequality of the tax code while he was with The New York Times.
The second page of the documents obtained by Johnston are stamped “Client Copy,” leading to speculation on Twitter that they may be Trump’s own copy.
On Wednesday morning, Johnston told CNN that the stamp suggests that the version of the documents he received didn’t come from the Internal Revenue Service. He said he doesn’t know for sure who sent him the documents.
The documents came from someone who had access to them, either through an accounting firm who prepared the documents or in litigation or a regulatory proceeding, Johnston told CNN. He said the firm had no comment on the documents.
It has been reported that Trump posed as his own publicist under the names John Miller and John Barron. The real estate mogul has denied this, despite recordings that reveal the two had remarkably similar voices.
Johnston said Tuesday evening that Trump has a “long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it’s in his interests.” While that is a possibility, he told CNN Wednesday morning that “the anger with which the White House responded suggests” it isn’t likely Trump leaked his own tax document.
The tax documents aired on MSNBC match figures given by the White House in a statement Tuesday, which said Trump had paid $38 million in taxes on income of more than $150 million for 2005.
The documents indicate that Trump paid an effective tax rate of about 24 or 25 percent. But Trump could have paid a lot less, if not for the alternative minimum tax, something he has said he’d eliminate.
Trump paid “no more tax than legally required,” a spokesperson for the White House said in response to MSNBC’s report. The full statement is below: