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President Trump Says He Has ‘No Idea’ How Journalist Obtained His 2005 Tax Return

Variety logo Variety 3/15/2017 Ted Johnson
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President Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that he has “no idea” how his tax returns were leaked to journalist David Cay Johnston, who posted them online and shared them with Rachel Maddow.

“I have no idea where they got it, but it’s illegal and they’re not supposed to have it and it’s not supposed to be leaked and it’s certainly not an embarrassing tax return at all. But it’s an illegal thing they’ve been doing it, they’ve done it before and I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump told Carlson in an interview for “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday. Fox News released excerpts earlier in the afternoon.

The release of two pages from Trump’s 2005 return captivated much of the political world on Tuesday evening after MSNBC’s Maddow teased before the show that they had obtained them.

But the White House scooped her, releasing basic information from the forms that revealed that Trump had paid $38 million in taxes that year on more than $150 million in income. They also condemned the show as “desperate” and part of the “dishonest media” with an agenda.

Johnston, a veteran investigative journalist who has authored a book on Trump, said that he received the tax returns in the mail. On “The Rachel Maddow Show,” he raised the possibility that Trump or one of his associates leaked them. After all, despite all of the hype and anticipation over their release, the information from the forms was hardly damaging to Trump.

On Wednesday morning, another MSNBC host, Joe Scarborough, also suggested that Trump’s team may have leaked the returns. That led to a bit of a Twitter tiff with Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Carlson asked Trump about evidence to back up his claim that President Barack Obama had Trump Tower phones tapped during the 2016 campaign.

Trump told Carlson that a “wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next 2 weeks.”

On Capitol Hill, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters that “I don’t think there was an actual tap of Trump tower.” He said that they had not received any evidence backing up Trump’s claim.

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