Inside Job? Billy Bush & Donald Trump Recording Leaked By NBC Staffer, Sources Say

Feb. 24 2017, Updated 12:11 p.m. ET

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Billy Bush's infamous tape with Donald Trump may have been leaked by an NBC staff member, RadarOnline.com has learned.

According to Page Six,

"The tape was leaked by the NBC News division, by somebody at the TODAY show," a source told the publication. "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."

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As fans know, Bush, 45, was fired from the TODAY show following the release of the audio recording, in which Bush and Trump were heard making lewd remarks about women in 2005.

According to an insider, Access had been working on a doctored version of the tape to release that would preserve Bush's reputation, but an unedited version made its way out — as an intentional step to get Bush out of the way!

"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," the source said. "But all it did was crush Billy, and, ironically, his own network was behind it."

"There was no investigation, no internal witch hunt by NBC into who leaked the tape. It served their purposes," the insider added.

But another NBC source insisted that "the leak did not come from TODAY. It was leaked by somebody on the West Coast who hated Billy Bush and wanted to take him down."

A separate source defended Lauer: "Billy and Matt had a great relationship. Matt had nothing to do with the tape."

"This story is a complete fantasy, patently false," Lauer said of Page Six's report. Bush’s rep didn’t comment.

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