Rachel Maddow is responding to some of the criticism around her reporting on Donald Trump's tax returns, after her expose set off an online firestorm last week.
The MSNBC host was a guest on "The View" Wednesday and addressed her initial reaction to the 2005 report itself, as well as speculation that Trump was the one who actually leaked the intel.
"The first thing I thought when we got this call, my first thought was, 'Don't get pranked. Could this be a forgery? Make sure this stuff is real,'" she explained. "There's such appetite to learn about his tax returns. Simultaneously, we've got this increasing knowledge about his weird overseas tide. Ot's the perfect opportunity to prank somebody."
She said her team spent 36 hours trying to verify the validity of the document before going live on her show.
As for online chatter that the President released it, she said it's certainly possible.
"It totally could have come from Trump, which is such a bizarre human drama," she said. "The only thing that matters is if that document is real."
"We know he gave them to you," Joe Behar said, "otherwise there would be more pages with real information on them!"
Sunny Hostin then brought up Donald and his son Donald Trump Jr.'s conflicting reaction to the report. The president called the report "fake news" while Trump Jr. thanked her for "proving to your #Trump hating followers how successful @realDonaldTrump is & that he paid $40mm in taxes!"
"My favorite thing about those two things together is it's an amazing release of his tax information that shows that he's super rich paid a ton of money in taxes and it's real and also it's fake and it's illegal to publish them," said Maddow. "It's either fake or it's real and you need to pick one!"
She said her report "proves you can release some of his tax information without the world ending."
Jedediah Bila asked about some of the backlash she got over the rollout of the report.
"In terms of breaking the news, I felt like my responsibility was to show the information, be transparent about where we got it from, to talk about some of these sourcing issues. We honestly have no idea where it came from, it very well might have come from the president himself," she explained. "But the overall issue being the importance of the president releasing his tax returns, why it's so unusual that he hasn't, why even getting even this little piece of information was a big deal. For me, that's what I felt I had to do and I did it and like me or don't, I did it right as far as I'm concerned."