CNN commentator Van Jones said Tuesday night was a "good night" for President Donald Trump after the release of his 2005 tax returns revealed nothing politically damaging.
Van Jones, who previously worked in the Obama administration, joined host Anderson Cooper to discuss the disappointment of many behind the release of Trump's 2005 tax returns.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow had tweeted earlier that she obtained Trump's tax returns without providing any more detail, causing a media stir. She clarified less than an hour later that she only had part of the president's returns from 2005, causing many journalists and social media users to criticize her for overhyping the situation. The White House soon preemptively released Trump's 2005 taxes ahead of Maddow, showing that the president earned $153 million and paid $36.5 million in income taxes that year.
"If all we get tonight is that Donald Trump paid $38 million to America's government, that's a good night for Donald Trump," Jones said. "I'm sorry, but there's just really no way–I was hoping and praying that it would show not only did he pay no taxes, he actually charged the government and got money back."
"I wanted something I could get excited about," he added.
— Phil Villarreal (@PhilVillarreal) March 15, 2017
Later on CNN, host Don Lemon asked the reporter who broke the tax return story on Maddow's show, David Cay Johnston, how the tax information was detrimental to Trump.
"How is this not good for Donald Trump?" Lemon asked.
"Oh, I think it might be good for Donald Trump," Johnston responded. "One of the things that's very strange about this is Donald Trump probably would benefit from releasing his tax returns with a lot of people."
The tax returns were confirmed in a statement from the White House.
"Mr. Trump paid $38 million even after taking into account large scale depreciation for construction, on an income of $150 million," the statement read.
— Slate (@Slate) March 15, 2017
Trump repeatedly denied requests to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign.