Joe Scarborough: 'Painfully obvious' Trump leaked tax doc to 'distract' from Russia and Trumpcare


The entire internet seemed to stop in place for 19 minutes as MSNBC's Rachel Maddow unveiled the scoop that she had obtained two pages of Donald Trump's 2005 tax return, but the "mysterious" source of the leak is not much of a mystery, not even to former Trump booster Joe Scarborough.

The entire media world seemed to grind to a halt when Rachel Maddow teased that "We've got Trump tax returns," and the suspense built further during the 19-minute tease at the start of her show. The story got a major boost from the Trump White House as well, which released a headline-grabbing statement effectively confirming the scoop in advance. By the time Maddow revealed the two pages of a 2005 tax return that were mysteriously mailed to investigative reporter and Trump bane David Cay Johnston, Johnston's website was crashing from all the attention.

That two-page document (clearly stamped "Client Copy") did very little to live up to the hype, instead showing that Trump paid 24% in taxes that year, far in excess of what has been suggested, and that he would have benefited greatly from a tax provision that he now supports. It was a publicity coup for Trump that he completed with a tweet:

If the beneficiary of the leak was still a mystery to anyone, this tweet from Donald Trump, Jr. helped to clearify:

To many, it was obvious that Trump was likely the source of this leak, coming as it did during the low point in his historically unpopular presidency, with much of the country in open revolt over the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare, and pressure mounting for an independent investigation of his Russia ties. It was so obvious that even David Cay Johnston broached the possibility, citing Trump's documented history of media self-dealing.

The ruse was so transparent that even former Trump booster Joe Scarborough saw through it, and through its purpose:

Scarborough was not the only prominent figure to immediately smell a rat:

As Maddow cannily detailed during that 19-minute tease, this cherry-picked leak should serve only to illustrate why all of Donald Trump's tax returns should be released. Because this particular trick was executed so clumsily and obviously, it may just backfire far enough to bring more attention to the returns he continues to hide.