President Donald Trump says he doesn’t know who released part of his 2005 tax return and described the disclosure as “illegal.”
“I have no idea where they got it but it’s illegal and they’re not supposed to have it and its not supposed to be leaked and it’s certainly not an embarrassing tax return at all but it’s an illegal thing they’ve been doing it, they’ve done it before and I think it’s a disgrace,” Mr. Trump told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in an interview airing Wednesday night.
A copy of the tax return, which was unveiled Tuesday night on MSNBC, suggested that Mr. Trump paid $38 million in taxes on $150 million in income. In a break with precedent, Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, as other presidents have, insisting that he could not during the campaign that he was under audit. Being under audit does not prohibit individuals from releasing their tax returns, however. Shortly after launching his presidential campaign in 2015, Mr. Trump told CBS News’ John Dickerson that he “pays as little as possible in taxes.”
In the interview with Carlson, Mr. Trump also defended his claim that then-President Obama wiretapped him during the campaign. The White House has not presented any evidence to back up the accusation.
“[W]iretap covers a lot of different things,” Mr. Trump said. “I think you’re going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next 2 weeks.”
Mr. Trump also said it was “not fair” that he paid less in taxes than many Americans who earn their money via wages versus investments. “I will tell you, the tax -- people are paying too high a tax,” Mr. Trump said, before expressing his belief that new health care legislation must be passed before taxes can be lowered.
Prompted by Carlson, Mr. Trump later in the interview said it was “very, very hard” to assimilate Muslim immigrants in Western countries.
“The assimilation has been very, very hard,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s been a very, very difficult process. I want this country to be safe. I want this country to be great. And it’s called make America great again. That’s where I got elected. I want people that love our country. And many Muslims do. Many, many Muslims do. But it has been a hard process.”