We may have a lead in the mystery of who leaked the now infamous 2005 Access Hollywood tape, which captured current President Donald Trump and former "Today" host Billy Bush making lewd comments about women, and it appears to be pointing toward sabotage.
According to multiple sources close to NBC, one of Billy Bush's own staff members on NBC's "Today" show was responsible for the leak, Page Six reports.
"The tape was leaked by the NBC News division, by somebody at the ‘Today’ show,” says one source. "NBC News knew for a while about the existence of the tape. Billy himself had told them about it. People in the news division became frustrated that Access Hollywood was taking too long to air it and decided it had to come out."
Access Hollywood was allegedly planning to release an edited version of the tape with clips featuring Bush removed. However, before Access Hollywood could release their sanitized version, the Washington Post leaked the full tape, showing Bush encouraging Trump to talk about seducing a married woman.
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Bush made lewd comments about Arianne Zucker, the actress who was set that day.
"Your girl’s hot as s***, in the purple," he said, according to The Post.
Trump then says that his fame allows him to make sexual advances on any woman he wants.
"Grab them by the p****," said Trump. "You can do anything."
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Bush apologized after the tape's release, saying he was "younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along."
He was later fired from hosting "Today," which, according to the sources, was all part of the "Today" staffer's plan.
"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 said. "But all it did was crush Billy, and, ironically, his own network was behind it."
The source says that the leaker still works at NBC and has faced no disciplinary action.
“There was no investigation, no internal witch hunt by NBC into who leaked the tape," the source added. "It served their purposes."
However, another source disputes the claim that the leaker was from the "Today Show."
"The leak did not come from ‘Today,’" another source insisted. "It was leaked by somebody on the West Coast who hated Billy Bush and wanted to take him down."