Somehow a three-minute recording made 11 years ago is now the cause of the biggest scandal of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential run and the potential end of Billy Bush’s TV hosting career.
A lot can be said in three minutes.
On the leaked tape, Trump, who was newly married to Melania Trump at the time, could be heard boasting of trying to sleep with a married woman. Trump made the comments while riding on a bus with Bush, who could be heard egging him on.
“Access Hollywood” identified the woman Trump said he had tried to sleep with as Nancy O’Dell, a current “Entertainment Tonight” host. She and Bush hosted “Access Hollywood” at the time the tape was made.
Trump also bragged that he could grope women and kiss them without consent because of his celebrity status. All the while, Bush was right there affirming Trump’s statements.
So it looked particularly bad for Bush when the two arrived at the “Days of Our Lives” studio, where Trump was set to do a cameo on the soap opera, and were greeted by actress Arianne Zucker. Not only did Trump and Bush ogle her through the window, but Bush insisted that she hug Trump and then him.
How did the tape escape years of being hidden away to becoming a bombshell of the election year? Here’s a look at how it went down:
August 2016: The New York Post reported that Billy Bush, while covering the Rio Olympics, bragged about having a “tape of Trump being a real dog.” NBC staffers overheard, and that’s reportedly how the search for the tape started.
Source: New York Post
Monday, October 3: NBC News says this is the day it first heard of the tape. It and “Access Hollywood” began working on separate stories about the recording.
Tuesday, October 4: NBC News reportedly forwarded the video to its legal department for review, where it remained for two to three days.
Friday, October 7: NBC News was reportedly still waiting for some internal sign-offs and responses to requests for comments on the video, including from Trump’s camp. Hurricane Matthew was the big news of the day, so “Access Hollywood” producers apparently decided to push their story on the tape to Monday, after the second presidential debate. NBC News agreed to let “Access Hollywood” go out with the tape first, since it came from the show.
Source: The New York Times
Friday, October 7, 11 a.m. ET: A source widely thought to be within NBC then pointed reporter David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post to the tape. Fahrenthold had been covering Trump’s charitable foundation for months.
Source: The Washington Post
Friday, October 7, noon ET: Fahrenthold asked NBC for comment about the tape. Producers from both NBC News and “Access Hollywood” were blindsided by the call. They had believed the tape was secure.
Friday, October 7, 1 p.m. ET: The Washington Post published the video. About 10 minutes later, MSNBC went out with NBC’s story. “Access Hollywood” went out with its story later that evening.
Source: The Washington Post