Fox News host Sean Hannity said Tuesday night that NBC News “is on a political jihad” against President Donald Trump after MSNBC host Rachel Maddow aired details from a portion of the president’s 2005 tax return on her show.
The tax documents broadcast Tuesday night by Maddow show that Trump paid $38 million in taxes in 2005 on earnings of $150 million, an effective tax rate of roughly 25 percent.
Breaking with decades of presidential tradition, Trump has thus far refused to release his tax returns and says he will only do so once an IRS audit of them is complete. While Trump has said his lawyers have advised him against releasing them, the IRS has said that there is no rule prohibiting someone under audit from making their tax returns public and, in fact, former President Richard Nixon released his own tax returns while they were being audited by the IRS.
For Hannity, the scandal in Tuesday night’s publication of a portion of Trump’s 2005 tax return was not the content of the documents but the fact that they were made public at all. The Fox News host said Maddow’s show, which airs one hour earlier than his own, marked “a new low in terms of privacy as we know it here in our country.”
While it was not immediately clear who released the portion of Trump’s 2005 return to the media, Hannity blamed “Obama-deep-state-shadow-government-holdover saboteurs” for the leak. He called Maddow “really one of the leaders of the alt-left, propaganda, destroy-Trump-at-all-costs media.”
“What we’re seeing now is becoming far worse. Now it’s a clear and present danger that has emerged and it’s threatening our democracy and the will of the people,” Hannity said. “Because we have people in our government today who are committing felonies, now on a weekly basis. These saboteurs, they’re trying to prevent the president from doing the job that you, the American people, elected him to do.”