Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Fox Business host Stuart Varney asserted on Wednesday that allies of President Barack Obama and the so-called "deep state" had conspired to release President Donald Trump's tax returns.
On his Fox Business show, Varney asked Lewandowski to react to the leak of Trump's 2005 tax returns, which was first revealed on The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday.
"What do you make of the NBC jihad against your candidate, Donald Trump?" Varney said.
"This is the exact same group of pundits that said Donald Trump would never run for office," Lewandowski opined. "Here's what it comes down to. Anybody who released the president's taxes or a summary of his tax return have committed a felony."
"He's paid 25 percent effective tax rate," he added. "He paid $38 million in 2005 on $153 million in income. He's really, really, really rich. I don't think this is a shock to anybody. And what we know is he paid a higher effective tax rate than President Obama or Bernie Sanders or NBC corporation or anybody who is his peer in this. And so, where is the media outrage all the sudden? Where are they saying, 'Hey, you know what? We made a mistake.' They'll never do that because they don't want to admit when they're wrong."
Varney explained the leak by offering a conspiracy theory about President Obama and the "deep state."
"It seems President Trump has what's being called a deep state problem," the Fox Business host opined. "That would be the bureaucracy, the federal bureaucracy, staffed with holdovers from the Obama administration, committed to President Obama's policies, now leaking left, right and center to try to damage President Trump."
"In this case, it could be -- we don't know for sure -- but it could be somebody in the IRS leaked this tax return," he continued. "That would be deep state operating against the current president."
Lewandowski agreed: "I think you are on target. If you remember not long ago that the IRS was targeting conservative groups internally as it related to their tax status and refusing to give tax status to certain conservative groups. We know that in the past that the IRS has not been truthful with their testimony in front of Congress."
"These are the career government officials, the bureaucrats who are accountable to nobody, the civil servants. There are many, many good people who serve in our government but there are some who have their own agenda."
David Cay Johnston, the journalist who broke the story of Trump's tax returns, has speculated that Trump leaked them himself.
But Lewandowski threw cold water on that notion.
"What's the value of Donald Trump releasing his taxes from 2005?" he scoffed. "To show that he paid 25 percent? To show that he's really rich?"
"Yes," Varney replied. "This proves it and makes him look real good!"