Donald Trump: Did he leak his own taxes?

Claim: Joe Scarborough claims that it was President Donald Trump who leaked his taxes.

Rank: DebatableOn the evening of March 14, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC hosted a special report.  A journalist, David Cay Johnston, had received two pages from President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return. These pages were the 1040 portion of the return.  On it showed that in 2005, Trump paid $38 million on an income of $150 million and that he wrote off around $100 million in losses.

For those who want to see Trump’s tax returns, this leak answered little, if any, questions. No information about Trump’s businesses or sources of income was in the leak.  A number of people in the media have raised the question as to who could have leaked the document.

Joe Scarborough at MSNBC believes that Trump might have been the source of the leak.  Johnston agrees that it was possible that Trump was the person who sent the tax return to him through the mail.  Johnston said that Trump has leaked things about himself directly and indirectly in the past.

Scarborough points to the fact that the 2005 return paints Trump in a more positive light than expected. Additionally, the timing of the leak was convenient for Trump as it drew attention from Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and the rollout of the AHCA.  The document was stamped with “client copy” which means it was a copy of the document given to Trump.

Donald Trump has denied being the source of the leak and that it did not come from the White House.  He called the reporting of his 2005 taxes fake news and that there was no way that Johnston would have just found the document in his mailbox.


It is plausible that Trump was the one to leak the tax return. The tax return does not hold anything scandalous about him and it even ties into some of his talking points about taxes; one being the alternative minimum tax. The “client copy” stamp indicates that the document was a copy of an original given to Trump.  This means that if it was not Trump, it would have to be someone with access to Trump’s tax records. Finally, the timing was perfect as a distraction from topics that Trump does not want discussed.  On the other hand, all of this evidence is circumstantial and there is no solid evidence that he did it. Thus, this claim is debatable.

References and Further Reading


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