As my RedState colleague Nick Arama has extensively documented, the New York Times
hit piece report from over the weekend on President Trump’s tax returns was not the supposed “bombshell” against Trump many in the media and on the left made it out to be.
Contra to hyperventilating journalists and Democrats alike, the report proved Trump was telling the truth when he claimed he wasn’t releasing his taxes because he was under audit. Not only that, but the paper “found no previously unknown ties to Russia” in the Trump records they reviewed.
Also, the paper’s own reporting notes that Trump paid a total of $5.2 million to the U.S. Treasury in 2016 and 2017, with the $750 amount being floated in some press reports something that he actually paid in addition to those millions.
Though the Times’ article ended up being a big nothingburger, conservatives expressed concern over how the tax documents were obtained in the first place. RedState managing editor Streiff raised the question in his Sunday write-up, pointing out that it just so happens that the NYT ended up getting their hands on tax records that were subpoenaed by New York County District Attorney’s office.
Whoever it was who leaked the documents, it was illegal to do so, as conservatives like Turning Point USA Founder/President Charlie Kirk noted:
Who leaked Trump’s tax returns to The New York Times?
26 U.S. Code § 7213 makes it illegal to disclose unauthorized information, including tax returns
If true—there should be felony charges leveled.
RT if DOJ should immediately investigate the Times and their sources!
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 28, 2020
This led CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter to chime in with this bit of dum-dummery:
Kirk might've missed this line in the story: "All of the information The Times obtained was provided by sources with legal access to it" https://t.co/rgyTieQgZG
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 28, 2020
I was one of many who pointed out the obvious flaw in his argument:
Having "legal access" to something does not necessarily equal to it being legally okay to share/leak. You're a journalist. Do you really not know the difference? https://t.co/5kH8r29XPB
— Sister Toldjah 😁 (@sistertoldjah) September 28, 2020
If ever there was a tweet you needed to limit to only your followers, it was this dose of ignorance. https://t.co/NHzvsm8h2N
— Brad Slager Mail-splaining and Voter Resignation (@MartiniShark) September 28, 2020
Has anyone cc’d @BadLegalTakes on this howler?
— FNU LNU (@prosqtor) September 28, 2020
I had legal access to Top Secret information in the military. I’m pretty sure that I would still be serving time at Leavenworth if I had decided to leak it.
— David Willford (@Dave_Willford) September 28, 2020
You should probably delete this because it makes you look stupid. https://t.co/uOd2yKhWKz
— Fiscal Therapist (@BigLifeMark) September 28, 2020
The person or persons having legal access to the tax returns ***does not necessarily*** mean it was legal for them to leak the tax returns. https://t.co/a7XkwQvrPT
— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) September 28, 2020
I had legal access to Classified information, my gf has legal access to patient information, lawyers have legal access to their clients records.. none of those are legal to give to other people. Thats why they are leaked anonymously..
— Alan Cristoffer (@TedyhereMC) September 28, 2020
That the sources had legal access to Trump’s taxes is not in question.
They committed a felony by providing it to people who DON’T.
A real journalist would ask questions about this instead of playing goalkeeper for Democrats.
— Max Nordau (@MaxNordau) September 28, 2020
Key words there being “real journalist”, of course.
To repeat: There is a big, YUGE difference between “having legal access” and “having legal access to release” something.
I mean, it does not take a lawyer nor a journalist to be able to make this deduction. All it takes is someone not afflicted with a chronic case of TDS. That, in and of itself, explains pretty much everything we need to know about Stelter and his laughable expertise when it comes “legal access” issues.