President Donald Trump has lashed out at the journalist who published two pages from his 2005 tax return, suggesting that the Pulitzer Prize-winning scribe was not being completely forthright.
"Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, 'went to his mailbox' and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!" tweeted the President.
Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, "went to his mailbox" and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
Minutes later, the journalist fired back a tweet saying, “Gee, Donald, your White House confirmed my story. POTUS fake Tweet. Sad!”
Gee, Donald, your White House confirmed my story. POTUS fake Tweet. Sad! https://t.co/ibK2ApKI9E— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) March 15, 2017
The White House claimed in its statement that Trump paid $38 million on an income of $150 million that year, in addition to sales and excise taxes and employment taxes, but Johnston said that they had fudged the numbers to make it look like he had paid more income tax than he really did.
Speaking to CNN, Johnston said he has no idea who provided him with the documents, as he got them in the mail, however, he did confirm that it was possible the President himself had sent the two pages, which show Trump paid $38 million in taxes on more than $150 million in income in 2015.
“Donald has a long history of leaking things about himself, and doing it directly and indirectly. So it's a possibility,” he said.
Trump had promised during the presidential campaign to release his returns - which every presidential nominee in modern times has made into a precedent - after the conclusion of a routine audit.
Earlier in October last year, the New York Times obtained a single year's return anonymously that showed Trump declaring a USD 916 million loss and lists tax benefits that he used after a turbulent financial period for him in the early 1990s. The paper, citing tax experts, said Trump could have used his loss to cancel out an equivalent amount of taxable income for nearly two decades.