Speculation about who released President Donald Trump’s 2005 federal tax returns began swirling almost immediately after the documents were announced on Tuesday night.
The documents were originally leaked to Daily Beast columnist David Cay Johnston. While talking about the documents with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Johnston suggested Trump himself could have leaked the documents to him.
Images of the 1040 forms were marked with a “Client Copy” stamp that suggested the documents may have been leaked by someone close to Trump, if not Trump himself.
The information contained within the tax documents shed some light on Trump’s finances. They suggest that Trump indeed paid some income taxes — bucking an October 2016 report from The New York Times that indicated a copy of Trump’s 1995 tax documents showed that he may have avoided paying taxes for 18 years.
Johnston was not the only who pondered the source of the leak.
“Think [about the] calculus of leaker if he/she is hostile to Trump,” tweeted New York Times reporter Noam Scheiber. “[I’m] going to leak tax return showing he paid… $US38m in 05? What’s that do for [you]?”
Johnston also gave some credence for the theory, “It’s entirely possible that [Trump] sent this to me,” he said on the show. Maddow herself acknowledged on her program that the tax returns themselves wasn’t a story in itself, but that the fact that it was leaked, was.
The timing of the release was also called into question, as the Republican Party faces hefty opposition to its controversial proposal to replace Obamacare. The GOP’s American Health Care Act took a big hit on Monday after the Congressional Budget Office issued a damaging assessment of the legislation.
Meanwhile, supporters of Trump rallied on Twitter, cheering Maddow’s release of the lacklustre information:
Here’s a photo of the Trump tax returns that @maddow just displayed.
.@TomiLahren: It’s a rough night for all of those that have really dedicated the past 6 months of their lives to delegitimizing Pres. Trump. pic.twitter.com/thNpYf5pAO
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 15, 2017
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