The White House has released details of Donald Trump’s income and tax returns before he was President, prompted by a US television host who claimed to have new information relating to the property mogul's personal finances.
The tax returns show that the Republican billionaire made more than $150m (£123m) in 2005 and paid $38m (£31m) in income taxes that year.
The acknowledgement came after MSNBC host Rachel Maddow presented what she said was part of Mr Trump's tax forms from that year.
The story emerged after respected US reporter David Cay Johnston claimed to have received the President’s tax return in the post from an unknown source.
It was unclear who was behind the apparent leak. Unconfirmed rumours claimed the Trump administration may even have been behind the leak, although the White House released a strongly-worded statement condemning the "illegal" action.
Mr Trump refused to release his tax returns during the presidential election campaign, claiming he was under audit.
Commenting shortly before Ms Maddow's programme aired, the White House said publishing the returns would be illegal, and launched another attack on the "dishonest media".
The full statement from the Trump administration said: “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.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
1/9 Trump and the media
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/9 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC. Mr Trump issued a presidential memorandum in January announcing that the US would withdraw from the trade deal
3/9 Trump and the Mexico wall
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4/9 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House. Mr Trump reinstated a ban on American financial aide being granted to non-governmental organizations that provide abortion counseling, provide abortion referrals, or advocate for abortion access outside of the United States
5/9 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
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6/9 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. US President Donald Trump's effort to make good on his campaign promise to repeal and replace the healthcare law failed when Republicans failed to get enough votes. Mr Trump has promised to revisit the matter
7/9 Donald Trump and 'sanctuary cities'
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January threatening to pull funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" if they do not comply with federal immigration law
8/9 Trump and the travel ban
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SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images
9/9 Trump and climate change
US President Donald Trump sought to dismantle several of his predecessor's actions on climate change in March. His order instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to reevaluate the Clean Power Plan, which would cap power plant emissions
“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.
“That being said, Mr. Trump paid $38 million dollars even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of more than $150 million dollars, as well as paying tens of millions of dollars in other taxes such as sales and excise taxes and employment taxes and this illegally published return proves just that.
“Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns.
“The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”
Mr Trump’s son, Donald Trump Junior, tweeted after the MSNBC show aired, thanking Ms Maddow for “proving to your #Trump hating followers how successful @realDonaldTrump is & that he paid $40mm in taxes!”
Democrats and some Republicans have spent months calling for the tax returns to be released, arguing that they could show whether his global business empire posed a conflicts of interest.
Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition demanding that the President immediately release his full tax returns, "with all information needed to verify emoluments clause compliance".
A Washington Post/ABC News poll in January found that 74 per cent of Americans - including 49 per cent of Mr Trump’s own supporters - wanted him to release his returns.
There is no law that demands the President release his returns.
But Mr Trump is the first President in American history to be so opaque regarding his taxes.Reuse content