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White House says Trump paid $38 million in taxes on $150 million in income in 2005, calls tax form disclosure 'illegal'

As MSNBC's Rachel Maddow prepared to air President Trump's tax returns from 2005, the White House pushed back in advance, saying that publishing the returns was illegal and a stunt to get ratings.

"You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago," a White House official said in a statement.

Trump paid $38 million in tax on an income of more than $150 million in 2005, the White House official acknowledged, "even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction."

"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," the White House official said.

Maddow tweeted earlier Tuesday that her show would air Trump's 2005 1040 tax form. Trump biographer David Cay Johnston said that he would be appearing on Maddow's show to break the news.

Trump is the first president in decades not to release his tax returns. He has previously said he would not release the documents while he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, but being under audit does not preclude someone from releasing the forms.

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