Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman at the White House on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman at the White House on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

Washington: President Donald Trump paid $38 million in taxes on more than $150 million in income in 2005, the White House announced yesterday, in a move to pre-empt a leak on this issue by one of the popular television shows.

The White House released details of Trump's income and tax returns after MSNBC journalist Rachel Maddow presented what she said was part of the property mogul's tax forms from 2005. The White House released a strongly-worded statement condemning the "illegal" action. "Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid, it is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns," the White House said.

"The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans," it said. "You know you are desperate for rating when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago," the statement read. Trump made a "large-scale" write-off for construction losses in 2005, the White House said, in response to questions about a partial disclosure of his tax return from that year.

Trump had earlier said that he would release his tax returns when the regular audit is complete. The US Internal Revenue Service has a policy not to confirm whether or not individuals are under audit, but says it does not stop anyone from releasing their own returns.