Rachel Maddow released two pages of President Trump's 2005 federal tax return Tuesday night showing Trump and his wife Melania paid $38 million in income taxes for that particular tax year. The returns were acquired via mail by reporter and author David Cay Johnston.
It's also possible, according to Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald, that Trump has repeatedly lied about his net worth.
Ultimately, however, this could be the most anti-climactic Trump-related news story in some time. Here are some initial thoughts:
1) Rachel sent shockwaves through the political internet when she previewed the "tax returns" -- plural -- like so:
This was retweeted 124,000 times as of this reporting for obvious reasons. Everyone, including yours truly, thought Rachel would be releasing multiple returns, and not merely two pages of one 1040 from 12 years ago. In other words, the report landed with a thud, which is a disappointment given that Rachel has been doing award-winning reporting on Trump's links to Russia and the administration's impeachment-worthy behavior.
2) On the upside, the release of these pages could trigger an avalanche of additional returns being leaked, which can only be good news.
3) On the tragic side, it's entirely possible that Trump himself leaked the documents in order to prove he's paid taxes. In fact, Drudge immediately posted this in reaction to Rachel's report:
4) Then again, if Trump deliberately released the pages, it could indicate that he's panicked about the ongoing probes into his Russia linkage. However, this is obviously going to be spun as a victory for Trump.
5) The danger for Rachel now is that she's opened herself to prosecution by the Trump White House even though publishing tax returns isn't illegal. So, she could be facing a tough legal battle (maybe hire some food tasters, too) in exchange for publishing tax return pages that didn't really tell us anything new.
6) One last thing to mull: the pages were labeled "Client Copy," indicating that it might've been Trump -- given that he's his accountant's client.
More to come...