Trump paid just $5.3 million in regular federal tax, perhaps because he was continuing to benefit from large losses he suffered when his real estate empire collapsed in the 90s.
Trump repeatedly denied requests to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign. More recently, aides have suggested that since he won the election, he would not release his returns.
This, as Maddow noted, raises questions about Trump’s claim that his being under audit is the reason he hasn’t released the returns. Her show obtained the returns through David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who also released the returns on his website. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) paid an effective tax rate of 13.5 percent a few years ago, far below Trump’s 2005 rate of 25 percent.
The White House confirmed key details of the 2005 return – which showed amounts but, crucially, not sources of income.
In response, the White House says President Trump made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in income taxes that year.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said “we don’t have any evidence that that took place” in regards to President Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped during the election at Trump Tower.
The bulk of Mr Trump’s tax bill that year was due to the Alternative Minimum Tax, a tax aimed at preventing high-income earners from paying minimal taxes.
The committee previously set the US Justice Department a deadline of last Monday to provide evidence of President Trump’s claims – but that was extended by a week after the department requested more time.
Notably, the second page of Trump’s tax return is stamped with the words “client copy”, meaning that the return could have belonged to Trump and was not acquired via the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). White House press secretary Sean Spicer said last week the tweet “speaks for itself”, later saying Trump meant the Obama administration authorized a broad range of surveillance against him during the campaign.