President Donald Trump’s personal attorney on Wednesday challenged MSNBC host Joe Scarborough to prove his assertion that the “Trump camp” was behind the leak of two pages from the president’s 2005 tax returns.
Another MSNBC host, the commentator Rachel Maddow, devoted her show on Tuesday night to the returns, which showed that Trump paid about $38 million in federal income taxes on $150 million in income in 2005, after writing off more than $100 million in losses. After Maddow publicized her plans to detail some Trump tax returns on Twitter ahead of the show, the White House released a statement acknowledging as much.
The reporter David Cay Johnston, who said he received the returns in the mail, suggested on Maddow’s show Tuesday that Trump may have leaked them himself. Some commentators have wondered the same thing aloud, noting that the story might be overall good for Trump, since it showed that he paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes. The leak also did not include the parts of the returns that detail where his income came from or where he had invested.
Scarborough has embraced a similar theory, and he aired it Wednesday morning on Twitter.
“This one tax return is not bad for him because he cherry picked one return from over a decade ago and had it leaked to the press,” Scarborough wrote on Twitter. “The Trump camp released one positive tax return to distract from Russia hearings and the Trumpcare meltdown. That’s painfully obvious.”
That prompted the challenge from longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who tweeted, “I know who has his taxes. You better have proof to back up your claim and big mouth!”
In response, Scarborough tweeted: “1. Read the First Amendment 2. Save your dumb thug routine for someone who gives a damn.”