HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
There were doubts about whether President Trump actually paid taxes — he did in 2005, according to a hyped leaked tax return.
The president made a lot of money and paid millions in taxes in 2005, a much-hyped leak revealed Tuesday night, making the president’s decision to conceal his tax returns all the more puzzling.
The White House confirmed that Trump paid $38 million in taxes on an income of about $150 million in 2005 — an effective tax rate of about 24% — just minutes before MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was set to release a leaked portion of his tax returns for that year. The revelation sent people on the internet into a frenzy, but mostly because of how long it took Maddow to reveal what was in the return.
“It is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns,” the White House said in a statement.
Maddow rejected the assertion. “For the record, the First Amendment gives us the right to publish this return,” she said. “It’s not illegally published. Nor are we fake. Pinch me, I’m real.”
By the way, here are seven things Trump doesn’t want you to trust anymore. At the top, unsurprisingly, is the media, followed by the courts. And Trump is going to war with the numbers he doesn’t like — the same jobs figures are sometimes “phony,” other times “great,” and data from the same report is “consistently wrong” and also “pretty good.”
The Dutch are heading to the polls today.
A diplomatic feud with Turkey and a divisive election dominated by the far-right’s attacks on Islam have put millions of Turkish and Muslim immigrants in the Netherlands on the spot.
In interviews a day before the vote, Turkish immigrants acknowledged strong ties to Turkey but many said they’re offended by the attacks and responding by politically organizing, BuzzFeed News’ Borzou Daragahi writes.
The rest of Europe is closely watching this election and sees it as a test for populists. Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s center-right party and Geert Wilders’s far-right Freedom Party are dominating the polls. Rutte said this vote could “beat the wrong sort of populism.”
“Almost everywhere populist parties have risen with nationalist calls to stem immigration to secure and preserve local cultures. The question now is whether the populists will maintain their momentum or be blunted by a newfound hesitancy among voters,” the New York Times writes.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
How Donald Trump’s enemies fell for a billion-dollar hoax.
In January, an Israeli named Yoni Ariel flew from Tel Aviv to Rome carrying $9,000 in cash on a secret mission to bring an end to Donald Trump’s presidency.
There, he met with an Italian businessman who sold him documents that seemed to show that ExxonMobil paid Trump’s company $1.6 billion in an apparent bribe. The only problem: The documents were phony.
The elaborate hoax, which was based on forged documents, shows how a market for potentially damaging information about Donald Trump has emerged, and how some on the left seem willing to believe almost any damaging claim about the president.
BuzzFeed News’ Ken Bensinger, Jason Leopold, and Craig Silverman tell the unbelievable tale of how fake documents were created, sold, and circulated.
QUICK THINGS TO KNOW
Extreme weather: East Coast cities in the US got a slush bath instead of a blizzard on Tuesday. A “warm tongue” of Atlantic Ocean air melted the snow, turning it into wet crud.
International relations: Chinese premier Li Keqiang says China doesn’t want a trade war with the US. And this conspiracy theory about North Korea is a bit problem for the US and China.
Science and politics: A science advocacy group is trying to get scientists to ditch their lab coats and run for office.
Anti-Semitism: A “beware of Jews” sign was found near a north London synagogue.
Scary: A woman suffered burns to her face and hands after her headphones exploded while she was listening to music on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne. The brand of the headphones is unknown.
Uncle Joe Biden: Turns out former Vice President Joe Biden loves the Biden–Obama bromance memes — and now we finally know his favorite one.
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