The White House says President Donald Trump made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in income taxes that year.
That rare acknowledgment came in anticipation of a report by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who purported to have copies of Trump's tax returns from 11 years ago. The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive financial matter.
What we've got is from 2005... the President's 1040 form... details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC.— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 15, 2017
The White House is pushing back pre-emptively, saying that publishing those returns would be illegal.
It says, "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 adds that it is "totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns" and is bashing the "dishonest media."
Trump refused to release his tax returns during the campaign, claiming he was under audit.
Trump defied decades of tradition during the 2016 presidential campaign in refusing to voluntarily release his tax returns, which would shed light on the size and breadth of his sprawling real estate and entertainment empire.
Previously, the only Trump tax returns publicly known were state tax returns from 1995 showing he lost more than $913 million — a figure that would allow him to potentially take a deduction for losses for years. Those returns were obtained by The New York Times in October.