MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow generated a great deal of excitement and anticipation Tuesday evening when she previewed what some deemed a “bombshell” report on Donald Trump’s tax returns.
BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
It was such a big story that … the White House itself scooped Maddow and accused MSNBC of violating the law to obtain Trump’s 2005 tax return.
But President Trump should give Maddow a break. Actually, he should be thanking her profusely. Here’s why …
The damning evidence that Donald Trump is a Russian-designed cyborg terrorist is in his tax returns. Every liberal knows it. That’s why last October, The New York Times seized on a 1995 copy of Trump’s taxes and declared “he could have avoided taxes for nearly two decades” since then. Because, well, where are the tax returns after that? And what is he hiding?
Thanks to Rachel Maddow, we now have Trump’s 2005 tax returns, and it turns out he did, in fact, pay his taxes (at least once) the past two decades. $38 million of it. Doing my math on the back of a napkin, Donald Trump easily paid a higher percentage of his income to taxes in 2005 than President Obama in 2015.
Donald Trump Jr. has been all over this point.
Now @CNN is upset that the returns that they have been dying to get their hands on for 18 months are out but it doesn't fit their narrative!— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 15, 2017
While Trump Jr. is enjoying the schadenfreude, the rest of us are feeling fremdschämen.
Put on your thinking cap (the tinfoil one) — it’s time for some game theory. Here’s what Maddow figured out (abridged):
A portion of Trump’s tax returns have surfaced. These are returns for one year. The way we got that tax return is through Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist’s mailbox. Part of what’s very important is that, for some reason, we cannot discern why/how it ended up in his mailbox, unsolicited. It is clear, however, that this was a sad ratings ploy by MSNBC. Trump is the first president to refuse to release his returns. Even Richard Nixon (tax cheat!) released his taxes. Nixon was a crook. And a Republican. JUST LIKE TRUMP. Trump’s “I’m under audit” excuse doesn’t make sense. So clearly there must be some other nefarious reasons he won’t release his taxes. Enter the Russians.
Trump bought a really, really expensive home in Palm Beach, Fla. Then Trump flipped it for double the price to a Russian “oligarch.” Could Trump’s taxes explain why? MAYBE! WE DON’T KNOW … HE WON’T RELEASE THEM! Also, Russian names are difficult to pronounce. And that Russian dude? One time he parked his yacht next to a Trump donor’s yacht …
You get the picture. This sort of nonsense went on for 20 minutes. Maddow rambled and it was weird. She took all the seriousness out of her own “reporting” by hiding the big reveal of Trump’s 1040 form (which turned out to be two pages that proved NONE of her wild allegations) behind this nonsense.
If you tuned in, you likely lost all interest in Trump’s taxes and are now invested in why MSNBC’s studios use lead piping for their water fountains.
So after that brief detour into insanity, “The Rachel Maddow Show” brought on the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who received Trump’s tax form in his mailbox.
Johnston had a ton of interesting things to say. He fought back against the White House’s accusation that these tax forms were obtained illegally, noting, “There’s absolutely nothing improper about journalists, if you haven’t solicited something, getting it over the transom.”
Johnston, who recently authored the book “The Making of Donald Trump,” also suggested that the president himself could be the one behind the tax form leak, explaining, “Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it’s in his interest.”
He also said, on national television, that the first lady did “sleazy porn.”
So this ~respected~ tax reporter, David Cay Johnston, raised the possibility that Melania did porn.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) March 15, 2017
Way to undermine your reporting, dude. pic.twitter.com/I9oJlUnU8A
Slander much? Johnston better have some good lawyers.
Follow along with this news cycle …
The mainstream media reports, for months, that the government is probing individuals involved in the Trump campaign for Russian connections. Later, intelligence leaks insinuating loose connections to the Russians are reported, leading to the downfall of Trump’s first pick for national security adviser.
Then, two weeks ago, Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin takes what the media reported and asks if the Obama administration had the Trump campaign surveilled. Suddenly, the media flips the story, demanding concrete surveillance evidence from the Trump campaign. The Trump-Russia storyline falls out of style for a week while Mark Levin is falsely accused of pushing a baseless conspiracy theory.
Then the Republicans come forward with their Obamacare replacement plan, and it is roundly criticized by both the Left (who say the GOP is literally going to kill people) and the Right (who point out they're not really repealing Obamacare). Trump comes off a bad week of health care press and then a portion of his 2005 tax form is mysteriously released.
Now, after Maddow’s journalistic tease, the Left is back to talking about the Russians, and the Right is making fun of the Left for peddling an insane conspiracy theory.
Meanwhile, RINOcare slips away quietly into the night, as Wednesday’s news may well follow FBI Director James Comey going on the record on whether the FBI has opened a Trump-Russia investigation.
Rachel Maddow just did President Trump a yuge solid.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in Politics and Economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are Conservative Political Philosophy, the American Founding, and Progressive Rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.