March 15, 2017 (San Diego) The Rachel Maddow show released two pages from the 2005 tax return from President Donald Trump. He has yet to release any of this material voluntarily like it is has been a tradition since Richard Nixon. His excuse is that he is under audit, never mind that Nixon was under audit when he first did it.
The material revealed that Trump had an income of $150 million dollars and paid $38 million in taxes. Most of it in the alternate minimum tax since his actual income tax in the single digits. The alternate minimum income tax is one that the president would like to get rid off, incidentally.
So we learned that Trump believes he can manipulate the media at his whim. David Cay Johnston told Rachel Maddow the following: “By the way, let me point out that it’s entirely possible that Donald Trump sent this to me. Donald Trump has, over the years, leaked all sorts of things.”
And when you look at the copy, it is a client copy. This is not an Internal Revenue Service copy. You and I get those when we do our taxes every year.
The relevant question is why? Part of the answer might actually be in the White House pre-story take down of the story. Here is the full statement:
Why? This is the critical question. The answer is cynical I confess, but part of a long pattern. Trump wanted to take over the news cycle, and he is not bad at it. Why? The Intelligence Committee has found no evidence that he was wiretapped as he claimed.
It gets worst, we expect to see further investigations into the ties into the Russian intervention in the election with FBI Director James Comey scheduled to testify on March 20 before the House Intelligence Committee.
What we have here is a story that was important in the overall weave, but hardly the blockbuster that MSNBC made it be. It was also another attempt to take over the media narrative. What is good to see is that not all media fell for the bait. It is not the talk of the day. I suspect media is far more aware of this pattern now. Incidentally, the tweets about being hacked were part of that pattern of behavior.
We are aware of it, but given the story, we were to cover later in the day that Saturday we made a decision to give them more voice than we tend to anymore.
Here is the problem for the president, however, as more of these incidents come out, he has squandered a valuable currency, and that is trust. There will come a time when he will need to control the media narrative, due to a crisis, or national emergency, he will have trouble getting the attention of the press. It is increasingly like the story of the boy who cried wolf too many times.