On Tuesday night, the White House said that President Trump paid $36.5 million in federal income tax in 2005 on $153 million in reported income, confirming investigative reporter David Cay Johnston's announcement that somebody had anonymously sent him the first two pages of Trump's 1040 form from that year. The forms don't show much — Trump wrote off more than $100 million for what the White House described as a "large-scale depreciation for construction," and he would have paid just $5 million in ordinary income tax if there were no alternative minimum tax — which Trump, incidentally, seeks to abolish.
The fact that the White House confirmed the authenticity of the forms, however, did not stop Trump from tweeting early Wednesday that the whole story is "FAKE NEWS!" from a reporter "who nobody ever heard of."
Johnston — who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his reporting on loopholes in the U.S. tax code, first met Trump in 1988, and wrote a book about him last year, The Making of Donald Trump — told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday night that he suspects Trump himself may have sent him the tax documents.
Trump's "FAKE NEWS!" tweet — and the gleeful reaction from his son Donald Trump Jr. — sure doesn't pour cold water on Johnston's theory.