Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, whose story about Donald Trump's sexually-charged conversation with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush has created shock waves in the GOP presidential nominee's campaign, found himself Friday in a race against the tabloid television show itself to make the explicit tape public.
Fahrenthold, who wrote about donations to the Trump Foundation earlier this month, said he got a tip from a source Friday at about 11 a.m., asking him if he'd be interested in seeing previously unaired video of the controversial GOP nominee, reports The Post.
Within minutes of seeing the outtakes from the 2005 segment on "Access Hollywood" of Trump caught on a hot mic making explicit comments about women as then-show host Billy Bush laughed and egged him on, the race was on to get the story out.
Fahrenthold said he immediately called the Trump campaign, "Access Hollywood" and NBC for reaction to the video, and he rushed to get his story out online on Friday afternoon, scooping MSNBC reporter Katy Tur, who has been covering the Trump campaign, by just minutes.
"Access Hollywood" had found the recordings in its archives and was getting its own story ready, reports The Post. The show, owned by NBC Universal, had tipped off NBC News that it was preparing a story, and the news organization had been preparing a story to broadcast after the entertainment show aired its own version at some point.
Meanwhile, Fahrenthold commented that much of Trump's "past and his history is well-known," but he was still shocked by the tape.
"It’s not just, ‘Look at her; she’s a 10,’ the kind of thing he used to say on the ‘Howard Stern Show,'" said Fahrenthold. "It was more than that. He tells you about his behavior.”
Fahrenthold is a 16-year veteran reporter at The Post, and said he knows who his source was, but will not reveal that person's name because he promised the tipster anonymity.
The story is considered the second "October surprise" for Trump, after The New York Times revealed last week that Trump had claimed a $916 million tax loss in 1995 that could have kept him from paying federal taxes for nearly two decades.
That story, though, did not lead to mass calls from members of Trump's own party for him to drop out of the presidential race with just about a month left before the November election. Fahrenthold's story marked the most concurrently viewed article on the Post's website in history and briefly crashed the newspaper's internal tracking system.
The profane language in the video also left news organizations scrambling about whether to air or publish it uncensored. The Post itself used dashes to represent profanities and Trump's reference to female anatomy but ran the video and subtitles in full online, with a disclaimer at the beginning.
Post executive editor Marty Baron said the newspaper also wanted to determine if the video was authentic and relevant, and said Fahrenthold quickly verified it.
Bush is now a co-host of NBC's "Today" show, and there are now critics calling for him to resign in the wake of the video. He said late Friday, in a statement issued by NBC News, that he's "embarrassed and ashamed," but pointed out the video was recorded 11 years ago, when he was "younger, less mature and acted foolishly in playing along. I'm very sorry."
"Today" is produced by NBC News, while "Access Hollywood" falls under NBC Universal.
People at NBC told The Post there has not been any discussion about whether Bush could be in trouble over the video, and a spokeswoman for "Access Hollywood" declined comment.
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