Washington, March 16 (IANS) US President Donald Trump attacked reporter David Cay Johnston, who had obtained part of his 2005 tax return and released it the day before on an MSNBC program.
"Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, 'went to his mailbox' and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!" Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
When MSNBC reported that it was going to make the documents obtained by Johnston public, the White House tried to get out ahead of the story and admitted that Trump paid $38 million in taxes on income exceeding $150 million on his 2005 tax return, a tax rate of 25 per cent, Efe news reported.
"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 White House said in a statement, referring to MSNBC.
Johnston, an investigative reporter, who in 2001 won a Pulitzer Prize, heads a Web page called DCReport.org.
He said that the copy of the tax return arrived in his mailbox after being sent by an unknown person and opened up the possibility that someone within Trump's inner circle made the leak for his or her own reasons.
"By the way, let me point out that it's entirely possible that Donald sent this to me," Johnston said. "Donald Trump has over the year leaked all sorts of things."
Trump broke with long-established tradition among White House candidates during the recent election campaign by refusing to release his tax returns.