Report: NBC Thought ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape ‘Would Derail Trump’
The infamous tape in which Donald Trump can be heard making offensive comments about women with former “Today” show host Billy Bush was reportedly leaked by a staffer on the show and intended to bring both Trump and Bush down, according to Page Six.
“The leaked tape served a dual purpose: It helped get Bush out of the way — Matt Lauer didn’t like him and felt he was a liability — and NBC thought it would derail Trump,” a source told Page Six. “But all it did was crush Billy, and, ironically, his own network was behind it.”
“The tape was leaked by the NBC News division, by somebody at the ‘Today’ show,” the source revealed. NBC News knew about the tape before it leaked and Bush even told the network about it himself. “Access Hollywood” was apparently working on editing the tape to throw Trump under the bus and keep Bush clear of the controversy, but the NBC news division “became frustrated” by how long it was taking and “decided it had to come out,” Page Six reports.
The full, unedited tape was eventually leaked to the Washington Post. Bush was promptly fired from “Today,” which a source again claimed was part of the plan. The tape caused serious problems for Trump in his campaign for president, but not enough to “derail” him as intended.
Lauer has denied any claims that he wanted Bush gone saying the story “is a complete fantasy” and “patently false.” However, the “Today” show staffer who leaked the tape has reportedly not been disciplined.
“There was no investigation, no internal witch hunt by NBC into who leaked the tape,” another inside source told Page Six. “It served their purposes.”