Rachel Maddow visited with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday’s edition of “The Tonight Show” to defend her relentless promotion on Tuesday of her ultimately disappointing scoop on Donald Trump‘s tax returns. The MSNBC host had held forth for almost half an hour before revealing that she had the first two pages of Trump’s 2005 Form 1040. Little was learned from these records, other than that he had taken a lost of $100 million and paid $30 million under the alternative minimum tax.
She found a sympathetic audience in Fallon, who had been criticized last fall for making merry with then candidate Trump rather than grilling him on the issues. While Fallon had let loose with a couple of zingers about Maddow in his monologue, he was downright giddy when he introduced her, enthusing: “You were trending on Twitter last night!”
At the outset of her appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” Maddow detailed the background to the issue. On Monday, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston had come to her with the documents, which they then spent 24 hours verifying. That led to her teaser tweet Tuesday — “We’ve got Trump tax returns. Seriously.” — and a countdown clock on her lead-in, “All In with Chris Hayes.”
She opened her show with a lengthy monologue about Trump’s various business dealings, both proven and conjectured before turning to Johnston for the big reveal. As she explained to Fallon, “I think the reason people were so excited is because it’s really weird that the president hasn’t released his financial information. It’s really odd, and there’s reasons to worry about it.” Her main concern about the president, she says is “his contact with foreign countries like Russia.”
To that end, any facts and figures detailing his business dealings are newsworthy. And given the paucity of such information to date, she says, “When we found out that we had one, it was like speaking to a group of people dying of thirst in the desert and we were like, ‘Behold, we have found a drop.’”
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