Administration

White House: Leak doesn’t change Trump’s position on releasing tax returns

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The White House strongly suggested Wednesday it would not release President Trump’s tax returns following the surprise leak of part of his 2005 returns the previous day.
 
“To sort of use one illegal act and then say we should act further on that is somewhat preposterous,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Air Force One.
 
Trump’s refusal to release any of his tax returns as a presidential candidate broke with decades of precedent, but Spicer said Trump would continue to closely guard his personal financial information. 
 
{mosads}“The president has asked and answered this issue over and over again throughout the campaign and multiple times as president,” the spokesman said. 
 
Spicer repeatedly blasted MSNBC’s decision to report on the returns Tuesday night as “illegal,” echoing Trump’s comments on the topic.
 
“It is illegal to publish somebody’s individual tax returns. That is illegal. It is against the law,” Spicer said. “It is despicable and reprehensible. They should be ashamed of themselves and how they conducted themselves.”
 
But the White House responded to a request for comment from MSNBC on Tuesday night by confirming that Trump paid $36.5 million in income taxes in 2005 on $150 million in income. 
 
While it’s against the law to release someone’s federal tax returns without their consent, Spicer’s claim that the law applies to news organizations who publish returns they obtain has received pushback. 
Spicer would not say whether Trump would take legal action against the network, saying he would have to consult with the president’s personal lawyer. 
 
A federal watchdog that oversees the Internal Revenue Service refused to say Wednesday whether it is investigating the matter, citing confidentiality laws.
 
David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who first reported on the tax returns, said Tuesday night on MSNBC that they were mailed to him.
Tags president trump Sean Spicer

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