People magazine is reporting that Access Hollywood had originally planned on editing then co-host Billy Bush out of his taped conversation with Donald Trump prior to its leak to the Washington Post. According to an anonymous source familiar with the leak interviewed by People, Access Hollywood was in the process of editing Bush out of the tape and approving its release when it was published by the Post:
“They could have released the tape and edited him out,” the source says of the individual that leaked the footage. “That was the plan—they were trying to approve it and then someone leaked it. That’s what Access Hollywood eventually did and they played it … but it was already out,” the source says and adds, “If they wanted to protect him, they could have edited it out which they did on the final Access piece that aired on Friday, but they left it in when it was leaked.”
As our own Daniel Politi wrote on Saturday, some parts of Bush’s dialogue with Trump were left out of what Access Hollywood eventually aired on Friday:
The video broadcast by Access Hollywood leaves out a few choice statements by Bush, including when he says, “Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit—in the purple. Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!” in a description of the actress Trump was about to meet. Plus, Access Hollywood attributes a part of the conversation to Trump that the Post said was “another voice, apparently Bush’s.”
Mark Kornblau, senior vice president of communications at NBCUniversal’s News Group, has denied People’s report on Twitter.