NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Trump was back on the road Wednesday, with an early stop in Michigan followed by an appearance in Nashville scheduled for later, but questions about his taxes remain after portions of his 2005 return were leaked to the media.
The president criticized the reporter who released a portion of his over decade-old return, casting doubt on the reporter’s account of how he obtained the form.
But by the time he took the stage in Michigan, Trump was all business.
“Just today breaking news, General Motors announced that they are adding or keeping 900 jobs right here in Michigan, and that’s going to be over the next 12 months,” he said as he met with automakers in the Wolverine State. “That’s just the beginning, and I told them that’s peanuts.”
The president made sure to hit hard on his favorite topic; jobs.
“I’m going to fight for Michigan workers,” he declared. “I’m going to fight to keep the automobile production in the United States — not outside — in the United States.”
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports, the president stuck mostly to the prompter, but earlier in the day he used his Twitter account to attack the release of the first two pages of his 2005 tax returns, writing “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, “went to his mailbox” and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!”
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Cay Johnston says he got them in the mail, possibly from the Trump administration.
“Donald has a long history of leaking things about himself and doing it directly and indirectly,” Johnston said Wednesday on CNN’s New Day. “So it’s a possibility.”
The returns showed that Trump earned $153 million and paid $36.5 million in income taxes in 2005, paying a roughly 25 percent effective tax rate thanks to a tax he has since sought to eliminate.
The White House confirmed the numbers in a statement released Tuesday night but said the president paid no more tax than legally required.
Trump has previously refused to release his taxes, saying he is under routine IRS audit.
The pages from Trump’s federal tax return show the then-real estate mogul also reported a business loss of $103 million that year, although the documents don’t provide detail. The forms show that Trump paid an effective tax rate of 24.5 percent, a figure well above the roughly 10 percent the average American taxpayer forks over each year, but below the 27.4 percent that taxpayers earning 1 million dollars a year average were paying at the time, according to data from the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.
In Michigan, the president said nothing about taxes or the new health care bill. But he will be selling the plan at a rally in Nashville Wednesday night, amid opposition from his own party.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says the bill is “riddled, top to bottom, with problems.”
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, FBI Director James Comey is meeting with lawmakers. This, as the president has asked Congress to look into whether or not the Trump campaign was surveilled during the 2016 election.
“I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said Wednesday. “If it needs a subpoena to get there, that’s what we’ll do.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he never gave President Trump any reason to believe he was wiretapped by the Obama administration. Sessions was asked about the accusations while taking questions from a group of reporters.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)