The MSNBC host's “breaking story” releasing Trump's tax return on air breaks apart.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow went on twitter Tuesday (March 14th) to hype her “breaking story”: “We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously).” This no doubt sent the Left into a state of delirium. Then, Maddow followed up with another tweet, lowering expectations slightly: “What we've got is from 2005... the President's 1040 form... details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC.” That was not quite accurate either. What Maddow finally revealed on her show, after all of her self-promotion, were only two leaked pages from President Trump’s 2005 tax return that she had received from former New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston. Johnston claimed he just happened to receive them in his mailbox. And all that Maddow managed to prove was that President Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes on reported income of $150 million, at an effective rate of 24.5%, as compared to the Obamas’ payment of federal income taxes on their reported income at an effective tax rate of 18.7% in 2015. In anticipation of Maddow’s attempted “scoop,” the White House scooped her and released information on President Trump’s 2005 taxes before Maddow did.
While Maddow continued to spin her wild conspiracy theories about some nefarious connection between Russia and the Trump campaign or even President Trump himself, the tax documents she released on her show provided no substantiation of her charges.
The whole exercise rivaled the broadcast three decades ago of Geraldo Rivera’s hyped special focusing on the opening of a secret vault in the Lexington Hotel once owned by Al Capone. The vault turned out to be empty except for some dirt and several empty bottles. After the show, Rivera was quoted as saying "Seems like we struck out."
Maddow also struck out, big time. She received criticism not only from the right, as expected, but also from more liberal circles. For example, a writer for “The Fix,” the liberal politics blog of The Washington Post, called the whole brouhaha over Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return “a total nothingburger.” CNN’s senior media reporter Dylan Byers tweeted: “Disappointment for Democrats. Fodder for Trump supporters. Setback for serious journalists.” Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign press secretary Brian Fallon tweeted: "Dems should return focus to Trumpcare tomorrow & the millions it will leave uninsured, not get distracted by two pages from '05 tax return."
The fact that Maddow has become an object of derision is actually the least of her problems. She may have violated a federal criminal statute, which prohibits the unauthorized public release or publication of a federal tax return or “return information.” The original leaker, as well as David Cay Johnston, who claims to have received the tax document in his mailbox unsolicited, may also be in trouble.
"You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago," the White House said in a statement. “It is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the president will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”
Maddow has claimed First Amendment protection as a journalist against criminal prosecution. However, any solicitation by a journalist of illegal leaks by a government employee should not be protected by the First Amendment. New York Times’ columnist Nicholas Kristoff appears to have done just that, urging IRS employees to illegally leak President Trump’s tax returns. It is worth checking whether Maddow and/or Johnston did more than just passively receive the leaked information.
The criminals operating in the deep state federal bureaucracy who are out to get President Trump by illegally leaking classified and confidential information must be rooted out and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Purging the government of Obama’s political hold overs and dismantling the entrenched elements of the deep state are imperative.
If Maddow manages to get her hands on any more illegally leaked information from Donald Trump’s tax returns, she will undoubtedly try to use it to enhance her crazy Russian-Trump conspiracy narrative. Maddow has tried to paint Russia in villainous terms in order to show why the supposed collusion between President Trump and Russia she constantly talks about, without any proof, is so dangerous to America. She is irresponsibly using her platform to whip up anti-Russian hysteria as a way to get at President Trump.
Russia certainly did not bother Maddow back in 2012 when she made fun of Mitt Romney’s statement that Russia is “without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight every cause for the world’s worst actors.” Maddow quipped that Romney “isn’t done pretending he deserves a seat at the big-kids’ table… It’s not just that Romney is uninformed; it’s that he hasn’t figured out how to fake it.”
It is Rachel Maddow who has been faking it as a supposed “journalist” for years. Now she simply cannot get Russia out of her one-track mind.
Norman Solomon, the executive director of the progressive leaning Institute for Public Accuracy and an anti-Trumper himself, expressed some dismay regarding one of Maddow’s rants in an article he wrote in January for Consortiumnews.com:
“The standard memes demanding hostility toward Putin virtually never address some crucial questions. Such as: What are the plausible results of escalating a new Cold War? Is it wise to push the U.S. government into ever more assertive brinkmanship with Russia? Wouldn’t the degree of success in that endeavor increase the degree of danger that the antagonisms will spiral into a military confrontation and, from there, into a nuclear holocaust?”
“Sliding through a kind of time warp, Maddow’s performance on the night of January 26 was akin to what the most extreme Republicans have reveled in doing to incumbent Democrats in past decades — baiting them as accomplices of the Kremlin and warning against actual détente between the two countries.”
Maddow opposes the lifting of sanctions on Russia, which she fears the Trump administration is prepared to do as a favor in return for Russia’s alleged actions to influence the election in Donald Trump’s direction. Of course, there has been no such quid pro quo – the sanctions have remained in place. Cabinet members have continued to talk tough in condemning Russia’s activities in Syria and the Ukraine. And President Trump’s plans to build up the military are surely not going to meet with favor in Moscow. But Maddow does not care about the truth. She will keep bottom feeding to promote her show and shill for the rabid Never Trump crowd.