How NBC Finished Second on the Trump Video Story

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Interviews show that NBC lawyers, erring on the side of caution, examined whether the network could be vulnerable to a lawsuit for airing the recording, and discussed whether it was ethical to use live-microphone audio from a private moment with Mr. Trump — who was inside a van, off-camera — that was not intended to be broadcast.

Executives at NBC’s news division, meanwhile, deferred to their corporate cousins at “Access Hollywood,” giving them first crack at airing the footage that was theirs — even as the entertainment show, unaccustomed to stories of such gravity, took its time. NBC officials, believing that the footage was closely guarded, did not think it was in danger of leaking.

Complicating matters was the presence in the tape of Billy Bush, one of NBC’s most important on-air personalities, who can be heard…

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