tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 15, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PDT
>> you can't before 9:00 because i'm not sitting here until 8:59:58. go watch. thanks for joining us for the next hour. you may have heard we've got some significant breaking news tonight. donald trump's tax returns have surfaced. at least a portion of donald trump's past tax returns. what we have tonight has been turned the over to a reporter. these are returns for one year. it's a federal return. this is the first time we believe any federal tax returns for donald trump have been obtained by anyone, certainly by any news organization since he became a presidential candidate let alone president. i want to tell you that the way we got this document, the way we got this trump tax return is through david cay johnston, david cay johnston is a pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist, he's a specialist on tax issues and financial
reporting. david cay johnston and his reporting, dcreporting.org, tonight we have their first look at what they have obtained. in just a second we are going to show you exactly what it is we've got. we'll walk through it with david cay johnston. we're going to get context on it, we'll get explanation of what it means. importantly, we're going to get explanation and discussion about what further avenues for reporting this may open. but let me tell you first that part of what's very important about this story, about this new document we're able to bring into public discussion, part of what's most important about it is that for some reason that we cannot discern this document has been made available. this document has surfaced. it has been handed to a reporter and that's an important part of this story. that may be the most important part of this story. when donald trump declared as a presidential candidate that he would not release his tax returns, he became the first
president since the watergate era to refuse to release his returns. when richard nixon said "i'm not a crook" he wasn't talking about watergate, he was talking about his taxes. and, in fact, he was kind of a crook in his taxes. he handed them over in 1973. in april, 1974, the irs ordered him to pay almost a half million dollars in back taxes because, in fact, president nixon had taken improper deductions and hadn't paid enough. that was the least of his problems in the end but that was, in fact, one of his problems and presidents and presidential candidates have released their taxes ever since. donald trump's opponent in the presidential campaign this past year, hillary clinton, she released every year of her tax returns back to 1977. but donald trump refused to release any. he made history by insisting he would not, that indeed he could not release his tax returns. and it never much made sense on factual grounds.
when candidate donald trump said he would love to release his tax return bus he couldn't because his tax returns were under audit, that never made sense because even the initial precedent for presidents releasing their tax returns, even richard nixon, was under audit when he released his tax returns and since we later learned he was cheating on his taxes, it seemed like that was an audit well spent. the irs has let it be known there's no legal reason why somebody under audit can't release their taxes. and, in fact, since watergate, every single president and every single vice president has been audited by the irs every year of their time in office. and they all still routinely release their tax returns to the public every year so that excuse from trump and the trump campaign never made sense. being under audit is excuse for not releasing your tax returns as a candidate or certainly as president. also, the audit excuse never made sense for his past tax
returns. even if donald trump wanted to release nothing under current audit, well, what about years for which the audits are completed and closed? any year of his taxes before, say, 2008, any year that was audited before then, those years presumably would be done being audited by now. those would be closed. so why not release those earlier tax returns even if you don't want to release the current ones for which there isn't an excuse not to do anyway? whether or not you are a supporter of donald trump in general, whether or not you care what's in his tax returns, it ought to give you pause that his explanation for why he couldn't release them, why he has to make history by being the first person in decades to hold this office without releasing them, it ought to give you pause that his explanations have never made any factual sense. think about it. the "i'm under audit" excuse
makes no sense. and if the "i'm under audit" excuse doesn't make sense, what does explain why the president hasn't released tax returns? when you get an excuse from them that doesn't make sense, you have to look for another reason. the stated explanation here makes no sense. what's the real explanation. well, choose your owned a venture. here's an example, a home donald trump purchased for $40 million in 2004, less than four years later a russian oligarch paid him almost $100 million for that same house. could trump tax returns shed light on whether any reasonable outlay of expenses on trump's part might explain why somebody would suddenly want to pay donald trump more than double what he paid for that property after only a few years at a time when housing prices were dropping and not rising? if this wasn't just some russian oligarch dumping almost $60 million into donald trump's
pocket for no discernible reason, couldn't trump tax returns clear that up? wouldn't trump's taxes show whatever reasonable real estate inflow and outflow might explain what really does look like a bizarre dump of tens of millions of dollars of russian money into donald trump's coffers? right at a time when donald trump owed tens of millions of dollars to deutsche bank and deutsche bank was breathing down his neck to get it. that russian oligarch who spent that money on that property and never moved into it and ultimately tore it down, he's also a large shareholder in a bank called the bank of cyprus which has been implicated in russian money laundering. the chairman of the bank of cyprus is the former ceo of deutsche bank to which donald trump owed all that money at the time he conveniently got this very large influx of cash from a russian guy. the vice chairman of that bank until recently was our new secretary of commerce, long time trump friend wilbur ross.
couldn't the tax returns sort this out for us? if there are inexplicable dumps of foreign money into the president's coffers, that cannot be explained in normal business terms, that's potentially a huge problem for somebody serving as president of the united states, right? i mean, the interest in trump's tax returns is not a picayune thing, it's not a partisan thing. if people, if interests have inexplicably given him a lot of money in recent years, why did they do it? what do they want for that money now? is the president in a position where we need to watch to make sure he is not paying off his past benefactors with our country's resources with u.s. policy, with decisions he can make as president? that's part of why we need to see his tax returns. and i raise this issue of the particular russian oligarch, dimitry rybolyev, i raise him as
an example because we haven't had any meaningful financial disclosures, any tax returns from the president and because of that this russian oligarch is one of the continuing sources of intrigue about whether our president now has foreign ties that could conceivably be motivating his actions as president and i say it's ongoing concerns because it's ongoing concerns. not just interesting stuff that happened in his past that we have to worry about in the past. during the presidential campaign, his private plane was spotted at least twice at local airports when donald trump campaign events were happening nearby at least once his plane was spotted alongside donald trump's campaign. he insists that is a coincidence but the "palm beach post" reports this weekend rybolovlev's yacht was parked alongside the yacht owned by robert mercer, the single largest backer of the trump for
president effort, the single largest financial backer of breitbart and the person who installed kellyanne conway and steve bannon at the top of the trump campaign after paul manafort was fired for his ties to russia and the campaign. dimitry rybolovlev denies he has anything to do with donald trump or mercer, other than the price he paid for that house. but the people of the united states need to know if you have unexplained sources of income, particularly of income that has a foreign or gin. hence the need to know. has he received loans from foreign sources? one of the things you have to declare on your u.s. federal taxes is whether you have paid taxes in foreign countries.
does the president have foreign bank accounts? if so, which banks? the more i know about the bank of cyprus, for example, the more i want to know about whether there are other ties, other trump ties to that troubled bank aside from his hand-picked commerce secretary and the guy who inexplicably paid him that money for that house and the newly installed chairman from the bank that holds more of his debt than any financial institution. when the president and his administration moved to fire all of the u.s. attorneys all of a sudden on friday no warning get out, you're done by midnight, the preet bharara firing in new york was of note and particular concern because president trump and attorney general jeff sessions had both previously told preet bharara he could hold that job. they did a u-turn on that, which is strange because of office. his office is looking at a case
with deutsche bank. the office has jurisdiction over trump tower and the trump organization. ethics watchdogs wrote to preet bharara to see if he was seiff -- sevening money through his business. if he is, that would be unconstitutional. two days after receiving that letter from those ethics watchdogs groups asking him to look into that possibility, preet bharara was told to resign. when he refused, he was fired. these are the reasons people want to see his tax returns. what is his relationship with deutsche bank? what is his relationship with foreign sources of income. is he receiving any money through his business from foreign sources? is he receiving any money through his business or through any of his real estate deals
that can be traced back to foreign governments? i mean, his tax returns should show any income he has received from investment partnerships, this strange-shaped building was a trump project in azerbaijan where the trump organization partnered with family members of a notoriously corrupt azerbaijani government official who also has had business ties to the iranian revolutionary guard. the president's tax returns are of interest because if he has received income from foreign sources, as he did in that azerbaijan deal, the origin of that income may have national security implications. if by any chance it follows those same contours back to the iranian revolutionary guard, which is a sanctioned organization in this country because of its links to global terrorism. the unanswered questions around michael flynn, the fired former national security adviser, he last week retroactively
registered as a foreign agent. he declared retroactively that he worked during the campaign and during the transition as a lobbyist for the interests of the government of turkey. we still don't understand why the trump administration hired him to be national security adviser after they were advised that he was working for a foreign power. we still do not understand their cageyness around flynn and his firing. the white house said they fired flynn because he lied to the vice president but they didn't fire him until almost three weeks after they learned about those lies. we still have no idea why the vice president says he was completely unaware that flynn was on the turkish government payroll. because he, as head of the transition, was repeatedly notified about it, including by flynn's own lawyers, so why would he say now that he had no idea, he'd never heard of it until this past week? what explains the trump administration's cageyness around michael flynn and specifically around michael flynn's financial ties to turkey?
well, you know what? it would be helpful to see the tax returns. i mean, what kind of income as trump towers istanbul provided to president trump through his business? is any of that income for the president from the turkish government? did turkey have a financial relationship with the president? do they continue to have a financial relationship with the president? is there anything about the president's financial and business entanglements that is potentially driving presidential actions around the issue of turkey, the unexplained questions and cageyness that is yet to be explained around the issue of michael flynn and his firing? there are definitely personality-driven and petty reasons to seek the president's tax returns. is he not as rich as he says he is? is he not as charitable as he says he is? was he, in fact, under audit when he was using that as an excuse to not release his tax
returns? was that worse than just a bad excuse? was he really being audited? there's small reasons to be interested, right? but whether it's for small reasons or big reasons, there has been an unrelenting demand for people to see his tax returns. more than a million people have signed a petition demanding he release his tax returns. in 19 states, legislation has been filed that would keep him off the ballot in 2020 unless he releases his tax returns before the reelection campaign. on tax day this year, next month in chicago, activists are raising money right now to fly a 16-foot inflatable chicken with trump's hairdo over their tax day protest as a helium balloon demanding the president stop being so chicken about releasing his tax returns. literally today in missouri these protesters were outside senator roy blunt's office demanding that the president release his tax returns. that sign in the front there says "is your refund listed in
u.s. dollars or rubles?" there's a reason people want to see his tax returns. there's a reason there are decades of precedent for presidential candidates all releasing them. there is genuine curiosity as to whether they will bear out what he has said about himself in terms of his income. honestly, there's genuine concern as to whether he will pursue tax policies that are designed to benefit himself and his family -- which we won't know about until we've seen his tax returns. there are also concerns just about bookkeeping. there's reason for concern about his fec financial disclosure form, which is all we have about him, there are indications in the paperwork that he may have given wildly inflated valuations of the worth of his golf course properties abroad. when you compare what he said in the fec document versus tax filings he made on his properties in the uk where he
declared them all as losing money. incidentally, lying to the fec is a crime for which you can go to prison for five years. but concerns about whether he might have lied or misrepresented his own financial circumstance during the campaign, concerns about whether or not he might have misstated things to the fec with all of that there looms over all of this the big national security worry, right? the big almost existential worry, the greatest concern, the worry that this president may be financially beholden to an individual, to an institution, to a country. and now that he's president, we won't know if he tries to use the resources and power of our country to pay off that entity to whom he is beholden. we can't know any of that without getting his tax returns. that's why presidents release their tax returns.
that's why there will continue to be unrelenting pressure to find donald trump's tax returns, to expose donald trump's tax returns and that pressure will remain every single day he remains as president unless and until he releases them, the pressure will never let up. and that's why somebody has decided to leak a portion of his 2005 tax return which is how and why we got it tonight and i'm sure it's only the start but it's a start and our little piece of it, we just got it, we'll go through it next.
what i have here is a copy of donald trump's tax returns. we have a tax return for one year for 2005. i believe this is the only set of the president's federal taxes that reporters have ever gotten ahold of. what we have with these two pages front and back from the same 1040 form that you might have filled out when you file your taxes. in terms of what's on here, let me give you the basics. aside from the numbers being large, these pages are straightforward. he paid $38 million -- looks like $38 million in taxes. he took a big write down of $103 million, more on that later. if you add up the lines for income he made more than $150 million in that year, mazel tov. we got this document today from a pulitzer prize winning
investigaive journalist who's better than anyone in the business, his name is david cay johnston. these pages turned up in his mailbox. david will join us live here in just a moment. but because nobody has had the president's taxes before, we didn't know what to expect when we showed this 2005 return to the white house to ask them if it's real. we sent this over to the white house tonight and the white house responded basically with "yup." i'm going to read you the white house statement on this. "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 even after taking into account large-scale depreciation for construction on an income of more than $150 million 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 the substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns." that was the white house statement. for the record, we have a first amendment right to publish this return. it's not illegally published. nor are we fake. pinch me, i'm real. but good on the white house for acknowledging the return as proof of what the president made and paid that year. a full tax return for someone like donald trump would be a lot longer than two pages that we have here. there are all kinds of schedules and notes and attachments that could be involved all containing information about the president and his money. why will he not release his
taxes, his full taxes the way other presidents have done? why not let the public see the information for themselves. we have obtained this, but this is all we've got. this tells us something but he still has disclosed, apparently willingly disclosed nothing compared to all other modern presidents. joining us is david cay johnston, editor and founder of dcreport.org which posted this a few moments ago, he's the author of "the making of donald trump" and the pulitzer prize winning financial reporter who found the president's 2005 returns in his mailbox. thank you for being here. >> delighted? >> congratulations on this scoop. what can you tell us about how you got these pages? >> came over the mail over the transom and there is nothing improper about journalists if you haven't solicited something, getting it over the transom. and let me point out it's entirely possible donald sent this to me. donald trump has over the years leaked things.
the very sleazy girl-on-girl pictures of the first lady in the "new york post" may have come from donald. the front pages of the state tax returns we had that were sent to the "new york times" and the "new york daily news" last fall may have come from donald. donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it's in his interests. >> do we have reason to believe that those documents you just described there were leaked by him or is it just a possibility? >> it's a possibility and it could have been leaked by someone at his direction. but with donald, you never know. donald creates his own reality and he says things that aren't true, he says things and denies he said them. he lives in this world that isn't the world where you and i live of verifiable facts so, yes, i think i have to include that in the list of possibilities where it came from. >> when you look at this document, when you look at these numbers, obviously we don't have the supporting schedules and the sort of appendices you get in big tax returns.
do these numbers seem right to you? the white house statement to us is reiterating the $150 million income number and the $38 million paid number. those numbers seem right to you? >> yes. and they fit the things we know from other public records about how donald does business. for example, the dividends he gets are primarily not what are called qualified dividends that suggest they come from not big companies like exxonmobil but privately held enterprises. they show almost no tax-exempt interest, about $49,000, that would imply at the time maybe $900,000 of municipal bonds. not much -- lots of college professors out there my age who have $900,000 in municipal bonds. what's most important about this tax return, though, rachel, is that under the regular tax system -- we have two tax systems, well-to-do people, you and i file -- calculate our tax twice, the regular tax system and the alternative minimum tax.
if we didn't have the alternative minimum tax and donald trump in writing wants to end the alternative minimum tax he would have paid taxes at a lower rate than the bottom half of taxpayers, the the poor in this country who make less than $33,000. think about that, $153 million almost of income, he would have paid a little over $5 million less than 3.5%, less than the half of taxpayers who make under $33,000. as it is, because of the alternative minimum tax he paid $36.5 million, not the $38 the white house statement says. they're counting his self-employment tax which is payroll taxes. $36.5 million, he paid 24%. you know who pays 24% in this country? married couples with two incomes like my wife and i who make around $400,000 a year. donald trump and his wife that year made $418,000 a day.
and the point of this is the top in this country, people at the top are not burdened the way we suggest. i was in -- >> let me stop you and restate some of that back to you because you're a tax expert and those of us who just pay taxes and aren't experts, i want to say back to them and see if i get it right. if there weren't the alternative minimum tax -- you can tell from this 1040, from his tax return in 2005, if there weren't an alternative minimum tax he'd be paying what percent? >> it's right on line 44, he would have paid $5.3 million, which is 24% of his $152.7 million of positive income. that's in large part because he was able to say he had negative income of $103 million. >> so because he -- because there is an alternative minimum tax -- >> they disregarded most of the
negative income, he had to pay more in taxes but he still got a benefit. you know why? because at the top people are supposed to be paying 35% that year, 39.6% this year. but if you're in the alternative minimum tax you only pay 28%. that's a 20% discount on your taxes. would you like a 20% discount on your taxes? that's what donald trump got here. >> so the issue that -- i mean -- i tried to lay out at the top of the show reasons why people are so interested in his tax returns. the white house has made this issue saying it's only reporters who care, people don't care, this was litigated in the election when he didn't release his tax returns and people voted for him anyway. there are a number of reasons to be interested in his tax returns and a number of reasons why people continue to be. >> and most importantly what we don't have here which is this describes the types of income but not the sources. >> okay. >> that's what we need to know. who is the president getting money from? >> well, we need to know, a, sources of his income, whether or not he's beholden to somebody. we also need to know whether all the things he said about himself and his wealth and his charitableness and all those things are true but we also need to know if he is going to take actions as president in terms of
tax policy that are going to benefit him. >> or benefit his benefactors. >> yes. >> yes. this is a very complicated tangled issue. here's a simple question to ask. every other president has released his tax returns. we have hillary clinton and bill clinton's tax returns back to the 1970s. why is it that donald trump is so insistent that we're not to see his tax returns. there must be something heidting in his returns. i've been at this for 50 years, i started as a teenager doing investigative reporting. every time some high-level politician wants to hide something, it turns out there's a reason they've got something to hide. there's lots of things we can think of that donald trump has to hide, including sources of income and his connections to the russian oligarchs who are essentially, rachel, a state-sponsored network of international criminals. and you've got to think about them that way and understand that's their position in the world and donald trump really is disinterpret that we don't see where his money comes from.
and this is a man who we know was very deeply involved with one of the biggest drug kingpins in america, in the 1980s. he risked his casino license to show his loyalty to that man. he did business with the biggest mobsters in new york. for years he traveled with the son of the head of the reputed russian mob boss, himself a twice convicted felon, he said i wouldn't know if he was in the room even though they were together all the time traveling. and many other criminals. he has associated with them throughout his life. so it's particularly relevant for us to say where did you get the money? >> david cay johnston is the editor and founder of dcreport.org. he obtained the 2005 donald trump tax return. can you stay with us? >> sure. >> we're going to bring chris hays into the discussion and i want to get back to the issue about the sources of trump's money and the source of this document tonight. we have published this 2005 tax return from the president on maddowblog.com. we've lived to david cay johnston's extensive reporting on this on dcreport.org. david is back with us in a
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this is republican congressman steve knight. mr. knight has represented california's 25th district since 2015. here's congressman knight addressing his constituents at a town hall just over a week ago. >> >> i believe that president trump should release his tax returns. [ cheers and applause ] >> i believe president trump should release his tax returns. crowd goes wild.
is you can see congressman knight's constituents very happy with that answer. americans overwhelmingly tell pollsters now that president trump should release his tax returns. i should mention, though, three days after congressman steve knight said that to his constituents at that town hall in his home district, three days after that he voted against forcing donald trump to release his taxes. congressman knight was one of 226 house republicans who voted in favor of keeping trump's taxes under wraps. the only republican to vote in favor of the public seeing donald trump's tax records is this guy, walter jones of north carolina, he's the only one, the only republican for what it's worth. congressman mark sanford of south carolina, he had the courage to vote present in that vote. courage. over in the senate, there have been democratic attempts to get president trump's tax returns released through a vote in the senate but republicans have blocked those from even coming up for a vote. bottom line, though, tonight,
we've got them, at least we've got two pages of them from an anonymous source through david cay johnston at dcreport.org. david joins us now along with chris hayes host of all in. thank you both for being here. david, let me ask you, in terms of what you were just describing a moment ago about the most important thing we could learn from president trump's tax returns, the sources of his income over the years, obviouslily you got this 1040 leaked to you, we've had a few other individual pages of state tax returns that have been seen, sent to the "new york times," you reviewed some of that for your earlier reporting on donald trump. what would we have to see? what would we hope to get in the mail if we were going to get to the meat of donald trump's potential foreign financial ties. >> you want to see the sources of income which will be shown in his business returns. he has over 500 business entities. you want to know who the partners are in those entities and what they show about the income.
you want to show the interest he's paying and fees he's paying to other people to know who he's paying. we've talked about the income he has taking in, but what about people he's saying? >> and you only pay interest to people to whom you owe money. >> and who's one of the biggest places he owes money to? the communist government of china's bank of china, which is also the single biggest tenant in trump tower. i grew up in the cold war. the thought that republicans would defend the president who has been involved for 30 years with the russians, not russia, russians, who are around putin and would be borrowing money from beijing -- >> all of which we knew before we got this tax return. chris hayes, looking at this and considering the scope of this, what's your reaction? >> two things come to mind. someone that disclosure -- there's an idea they have something to hide because they're acting like they have something to hide. it's possible disclosure could benefit them this way one. there was speculation after we
got the state taxes in '95 from the "new york times" that the magnitude of the write down could have prevented paying taxes for 18 years. >> explain that. >> the 1995 taxes showed an enormous loss. that loss was able to be carried forward year after year. >> he took almost a billion dollars for a real estate loss. >> a loss he shouldn't have been able to take. he bought a tax shelter -- republicans in congress, as soon as they learned about it they shut down so there was double deduction and he got the benefits. >> but by taking that $900 million, that set him up to essentially stack that up against income income tax he might have to pay for the next 18 years and it would cancel out any income tax he had to pay. >> there was speculation he had paid nothing for 18 years. well, we have this, he paid something -- >> he encouraged that speculation. when hillary clinton said you're not paying taxes, he said because i'm smart. which is it? you did pay taxes and you're tricking us or you're not paying taxes?
>> now we know, he paid over 20% taxes. >> that's right. >> we should note this is a man who has a fortune. the u.s. has never elected someone from private office and who would stand to benefit or lose from changes to the tax code he himself was pushing, for instance the current plan that is being floated would eliminate the alternative minimum tax which is responsible for him paying a whopping amount of money here so that's another reason for disclosure and the third thing i keep coming to is they are going to -- april 15 is coming up. we're going to file our taxes, some people will file extensions. i presume the white house will file an extension and the reason i think they will is because they cannot use the audit argument with taxes they're filing now. i can guarantee you one year of donald trump's taxes that are not under audit. they are the one he is would file this year. neck not be under audit -- >> the ones he filed last year aren't under audit either. >> so that argument gets thinner and thinner and thinner and he is now reaching the frontier.
>> the story here to me is that, a, we have obtained this, b, that this stuff is obtainable there has been interesting reporting that if you work at the irs it is not likely you would be able to see -- >> the president's tax returns are put in a special vault in the commissioner's office. >> really? >> and if you work at the irs and call up rachel maddow's tax returns, an inspector will be at your desk. we've seen the cia hacked. i'll be very shocked if we see the irs hacked. they have better system. >> and knowing the security with which these things are treated, donald trump has been an adult and filing taxes for a very long time and when you file for a mortgage, when you file to apply to different things you have to show lots of tax returns. versions of his tax returns have ended up all over the place, whether it's casino license applications, personal applications and somebody wanted this to be known. i believe this will not be the end of that.
sit right there, we'll be right back. tonight we have posted donald trump's 2005 federal tax return. david cay johnston of dcreport.org is the man who obtained this. he stay with us as does chris hayes. we'll be joined by michael besh loss to talk about the historically unprecedented nature of this. stay with us.
returns have been made public, have been obtained by any news organization since he was a presidential candidate, let alone since he was president. they were obtained by david cay johnston and his reporting shop dcreport.org. these tax returns raise very interesting questions about how much the president's own proposed tax policies would improve his own personal bottom line. but they raise more questions about what we haven't yet seen. trump is the first president since the watergate era to refuse to release his taxes of his own accord which makes this release -- who knows where it came from -- both an interesting news development and potentially a his historic one. joining us now, michael beschloss. michael, thank you for coming on the program on short notice. we appreciate you being with us. >> thanks, rachel, nice to talk. >> i tried to sum up why the release of presidential tax returns has become a main stay
of our politics. why did it start with nixon? why has it stayed important since them? >> well, in the time of watergate richard nixon got into big trouble because it emerged he had back dated the gift of his vice presidential papers and taken a deduction for that, which was illegal. there were a lot of other things happening at watergate but that was one of them. and the result was people said gee it must be pretty important that in the future we looked at the president's tax returns and as you've said since the time of jimmy carter every single president has released his tax returns every single year and there's a reason for that. the reason is so that you don't have a lot of mystery about possible sources and possible conflicts of interest. in donald trump's case, it makes you wonder whether it's worth it to him to have not released his tax returns given the kind of mystery we're seeing culminate tonight and a lot of interest in
these tax returns you've got. >> michael, one of the issues that trump himself has raised when he has been repeatedly and repeatedly and repeatedly asked about his tax returns. number one, he's said people don't care about it, only reporters care about it. that's not borne out by the polling data and the persistent activism around this issue. the other issue he's raised is, yeah, yeah, it's been a tradition since nixon but it wasn't before then and i want to go back to what it was like before nixon. was there controversy around presidential taxes, around questions of self-dealing and presidential financial disclosure before nixon that we should see as materially informing these kinds of see it informing these kinds of decisions kobe bryant. >> and those scandals and not the president and people around him were wheeling and dealing and some of them got into big
legal trouble over that. in donald trump's case, we got something unusual and you and i said many times before, first president who never had military or government experience, this is someone whose career in recent years have been opaque. >> we have house commission that's going to be opening soon. time is interesting as well. >> michael beschlosh is joining us on short notice tonight. thank you for your time. >> thank you, rachel. >> super interesting. >> chris hayes to your last point of the house of intelligence committee looking of potential russia ties, obviously, the big unanswered question in those investigation, did the trump campaign collude? >> yep. >> did they do along with it?
did they know what russia was doing and helped them? >> we need to worry about in terms of our own going national securities. do tax returns become apart of that investigation for that reason? >> they could be. >> the point right out notify what we are watching of this escalation slowly and particularly lyndsey graham in the senate generally. richard burr and nunez have been solicited. the congress have tremendous power to compel them. if those committees wanted to get to the bottom of this, they could have a fight over that. >> is it the right thing for them to go for? >> yes, absolutely.
>> in the case of donald trump, we have to ask that and we have to know whether he has divide with loyalties to a form of government or governments. we should not be doing this in the intelligence committees. there should be a select bipartisan. do it in the open and tell people what's there and get everyone of those tax returns going back to the 1970s. >> david cay johnson, and he's the guy who got donald trump's 2005 tax returns and allow them to preview them exclusively tonight. >> thank you, david cay johnson. >> our website is crashed. tomorrow it will be backup. you can see this online. >> we crashed our own website, too. >> come back, set a bookmark. we'll be right back. ♪
tonight we are breaking news. we have published donald trump's tax returns from 2005. it is two pages. it is 1040 form from his federal tax returns that year. joining us now is halie jackson, halie, it is great to have you with us. i know you are only able to join us by phone. how hard have they fought from stopping something like this?
>> well, what i can tell you, rachel, you have these statements on the show from the white house about this confirming some of the numbers in that tax returns. i can speak to what the president or a candidate have been pressed on on the campaign trail again during his transition and his team has been asked about this as well after the inauguration which is when will the president release his tax returns and is that going to happen? you know there is a line from the president that's consistently been that he has not released his return that he's under audit. after the inauguration, kellyanne conway seems to say that people did not care. the president himself was asked about this. we asked him about this of his first press conference in january about whether he will release it and why would he and
he said americans don't care. we asked sean spicer about it last week, the press secretary whether the president is still under audit and will he commit in releasing his 2016 tax returns when those are completed. the press secretary, he knows the president is still under audit and nothing has changed. he will follow up whether the president will release the 2016 return. i am told by white house officials today that they have not made an announcement on that. still questions remaining about this. the president is a candidate that was not consistent of his reasoning and we have seen no change from the white house. >> correspondent halie jackson is joining us tonight. thank you very much. >> this was a little bit of a crazy night. tonight, thank you to our journalist, david cay johnson. the world is getting the first look of donald trump's tax returns. this is from the year 2005. this is a matter of trivia, this
is the year that he got married to his current wife, melania. and she's listed on here. it is a joint file for the two of them. you can see the president reported more than $150 million of income that year. >> david cay johnson got this tax return in his mailbox. the white house confirmed that this return is real and they threatened us that it is illegal to publish it. it is not illegal for us to publish it. watch this question of this revelation tonight brings forward. this 1040 report and getting into reporters' hands, there is reasonable to expect that there is more out there and we'll see more of this come up. you know how much the president made and paid in that one year. we only have two pages. there is still a long list of questions that could be answered by the president if you want to release more or anybody else
does of this source that gets it in our hands. thanks for being with us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. "first look" is up next. tax return revealed. a leaked document is giving a rare glimpse into donald trump's tax history. but at the same time some of the biggest questions are still unanswered. plus, renewed opposition of the gop health care plan following a report by the congressional budget office. the republicans are skeptical of the report now using this to double-down on their concerns. and digging out. the massive winter storm that swept across the northeast leaves its mark. some areas saw 30 inches of snow while others took a glancing blow.