When Rachel Maddow tweeted that she had Vladimir TrumPutin’s tax return, it was as if Beyoncé and Frank Ocean had made a duets album that leaked at midnight. We all rushed to see what the hell she’d found. But in the end it was less Blond Lemonade and more Geraldo, his dumb-ass mustache and Al Capone’s empty vault.
Because Maddow had to verify that the two pages of the tax return were valid, her people reached out to the White House. That move may have tipped off the Trump administration that the tax return was going to be released; hence they totally screwed her great big reveal by releasing a statement noting exactly what she had.
In the end, after all the hullabaloo, Maddow had two pages of TrumPutin’s 2005 tax return that showed exactly what tax returns should show: The president made a shit ton of money, claimed a shit ton of loses and paid a shit ton of taxes.
Here is what I and many others suspect: TrumPutin leaked that shit. And here’s why: TrumPutin is batshit crazy.
He’s literally a damn maniac, and this isn’t the first time TrumPutin has done some suspect shadiness. Below are three reasons I think TrumPutin is at the center of this “leaked” information, and one reason I think it could all be a legit scoop.
1. TrumPutin is crazier than a shit-house rat.
I don’t know what a shit-house rat is. In fact, I don’t know what a shit house is, but I know that old people say this when they really believe that someone is insane, and so it works in this instance. In 1991, TrumPutin acted like his own publicist, calling himself “John Miller” and “John Barron” to sing his own praises. But here is the part that really proves he’s batshit crazy: He didn’t even change his voice! That’s right—the man with one of the most distinctive voices in all the land acted as if he was a worker for himself so that he could boost in third person, and he wasn’t even smart enough to fake an accent.
Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post that explains the whole thing:
In 1991, Sue Carswell, a reporter at People magazine, called Trump’s office seeking an interview with the developer. She had just been assigned to cover the soap opera surrounding the end of Trump’s 12-year marriage to Ivana, his budding relationship with the model Marla Maples and his rumored affairs with any number of celebrities who regularly appeared on the gossip pages of the New York newspapers.
Within five minutes, Carswell got a return call from Trump’s publicist, a man named John Miller, who immediately jumped into a startlingly frank and detailed explanation of why Trump dumped Maples for the Italian model Carla Bruni. “He really didn’t want to make a commitment,” Miller said. “He’s coming out of a marriage, and he’s starting to do tremendously well financially.”
Miller turned out to be a remarkably forthcoming source—a spokesman with rare insight into the private thoughts and feelings of his client. “Have you met him?” Miller asked the reporter. “He’s a good guy, and he’s not going to hurt anybody. ... He treated his wife well and ... he will treat Marla well.”
2. Releasing two pages of his tax return dating back to 2005 makes sense.
Why? Because they make TrumPutin appear human and less like an orange-tinted president who is literally in a pee-soaked bed with the Russians. The two pages released show TrumPutin in his best light. They show him as a 25 percent-tax-paying citizen who paid what he owed. They also help stave off the wolves that have been crying for him to release his taxes, like every other president since Richard Nixon has done.
By releasing his own taxes, albeit his 2005 taxes, he gives the appearance that there is nothing to hide. The White House even feigned pissed-off-ness, sending out a tersely worded statement admonishing the press and—yep, you guessed it—praising TrumPutin.
“Before being elected President, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world with a responsibility to his company, his family and his employees to pay no more tax than legally required,” according to a White House statement released Tuesday, Heavy.com reports. “ ... 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.”
See how this is all playing out in TrumPutin’s favor?
3. The man who was sent the two pages also thinks TrumPutin released them.
David Cay Johnston is no stranger to TrumPutin. He released a book on the man in 2016 and has known him since 1998, when he worked as a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for his tax coverage for the New York Times, in which he exposed a loophole in the U.S. tax code. But Johnston is no fan of TrumPutin’s.
During an interview on MSNBC, Johnston was very clear about his feelings for the president, Raw Story reports:
“Donald Trump is a racist and we need to recognize we’ve put a racist in the White House,” Johnson said. “We also need to recognize Donald doesn’t know anything. Donald doesn’t know a Sunni from a Shi’a from a Sikh nor why that would matter.”
So it’s fitting that a man who’s written a book exposing TrumPutin as a charlatan, and who won the highest award a journalist can receive for his work on tax stuff, just happens to be the one who receives an anonymous package with two pages of TrumPutin’s returns showing him to be legit.
But Johnston is a very smart man, and as such, he told Maddow during her MSNBC show on Tuesday that he believed that TrumPutin had sent him the tax returns.
“By the way, let me point out that it’s entirely possible that Donald Trump sent this to me,” Johnston said, according to CNBC. “Donald Trump has, over the years, leaked all sorts of things.”
4. But there’s one reason I don’t think TrumPutin sent out his tax return.
It’s wayyy too smart. TrumPutin is working at fifth-grade level at best, and this required a kind of thought process that I don’t believe TrumPutin is capable of. I don’t believe he’s smart enough to see this thing all the way through. I totally believe that TrumPutin wanted to put his taxes out there, but this feels as if a committee of people had a hand in this release. TrumPutin is impulsive. He’s the person who tweets about former President Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower in New York City, only to have the entire White House staff scrambling to pull it back.
I absolutely believe that TrumPutin is deceptive and shady as hell. In fact, the most informative part of Maddow’s show wasn’t the tax return; it was the first 15 minutes that exposed all of TrumPutin’s weird Russian ties. This seems above his deception level but right in Steve Bannon’s wheelhouse.
Bannon was a founding member of the right-wing rag Breitbart, which portrays itself as a media site but really focuses on white-power conspiracy-theory-style news. It seems more likely to me that Bannon, who understands how the press works, had a huge hand in all of this.
But I must also warn you that I imagine Bannon walks around the White House dressed as Bane from Batman.