Five months after President Trump's 1995 tax return cover-page was leaked to The New York Times, and one week after The New York Times' Nick Kristoff urged IRS employees to illegally leak Trump's tax return, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow dropped a somewhat shocking tweet-bomb (if it's true)... "we've got Trump tax returns... (seriously)" and she will reveal them at 9ET tonight.
In October, the New York Times reports that "Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades." Specifically, it reports that according to a previously undisclosed 1995 tax filing, Trump reported a $916 million loss on his income tax returns that year which could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income tax for up to 18 years. As it explains, "the 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan."
Then just last week, the New York Times' columnist Nicholas Kristoff urged IRS employees Sunday to break the law, and leak Donald Trump’s tax returns to his publication: “If you’re in IRS and have a certain president’s tax return that you’d like to leak, my address is: NYT, 620 Eighth Ave, NY NY 10018,” Nicholas Kristof wrote on Twitter.
But if you're in IRS and have a certain president's tax return that you'd like to leak, my address is: NYT, 620 Eighth Ave, NY NY 10018. https://t.co/ujYe100Tn9
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) March 6, 2017
As the Hill reminds us, the release of an individual's unauthorized tax returns is a felony. While reporters who publish illegally obtained information that they did not solicit are traditionally not prosecuted - recall that in September 2016 the NYT released an old Trump tax return without legal consequences- the legal picture becomes less clear if the reporters are involved in the leaking of the information.
On this issue, the U.S. code on unauthorized disclosure of information states quite clearly that "It shall be unlawful for any person to whom any return or return information (as defined in section 6103(b)) is disclosed in a manner unauthorized by this title thereafter willfully to print or publish in any manner not provided by law any such return or return information... Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution."
BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
What we've got is from 2005... the President's 1040 form... details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 15, 2017
The White House has responded pre-emptively with a statement:
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.
So now it appears that in addition to the CIA and FBI, there an anti-Trump mole at the IRS as well. We look forward to President Trump's reaction.