The daily entertainment news show Access Hollywood hit back sharply at Donald Trump on Monday after reports surfaced that Trump now claims the infamous leaked tape from the show, on which Trump is heard making a series of explicit and offensive remarks about women and even bragging about committing sexual assault, is a fake.
The 2005 tape surfaced on October 7 of 2016, about one month before the presidential election, and consisted of a conversation between Trump and interviewer Billy Bush, in which both appeared to be unaware that a microphone worn by Trump in preparation for an appearance on the show was, in fact, "hot" and making a live recording as they spoke.
On the tape, Trump is heard describing his attempts to "f***" a married woman, describing her body in crude terms that Trump later described as "locker room talk." On the tape, Trump then goes on to say that he has a habit of kissing women without their permission because "when you're a star, they let you do it."
Subsequently, in the most infamous passage of the Access Hollywood tape, Trump then says that because he is a star, women let him "grab them by the p****" without permission.
After the tape was leaked, Trump did not dispute its authenticity and quickly issued a statement explaining why he said the words on the recording, saying, "I've said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more-than-a-decade-old video are one of them."
At a presidential debate against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton two days after the Access Hollywood tape's release, Trump was asked about his remarks apparently confessing to sexual assaults against women, dismissing his comments on three occasions as "locker room talk."
"I'm very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it's locker room talk, and it's one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We're going to defeat ISIS. ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum that was left because of bad judgment. And I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS," Trump said in response to one question about the tape at the debate.
But according to a New York Times report on Sunday, Trump has now privately claimed that he never even spoke the words he is heard to say on the tape and that the recording is a forgery of some kind. The Times story said that two separate sources reported that Trump had told them the tape might be fake.
"(Trump) suggested to a senator earlier this year that it (i.e. the tape) was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently," the Times reported.
On Monday, Times reporter Maggie Haberman told CNN that a third source had also told her that Trump questioned whether the Access Hollywood tape was real, or an elaborate fake.
"He's not certain it's his voice," Haberman told CNN's Anderson Cooper.
But on Monday, Access Hollywood anchor Natalie Morales took airtime on the show to directly rebut Trump's reported claims that the tape was a fabrication, stating that Trump "said every one of those words."
Watch a video of the comments by Morales refuting Trump, below.
TRUMP: The "Access Hollywood" tape might be fake"We wanted to clear something up that has been reported across the media landscape," Morales said on the program. "Let us make this perfectly clear — the tape is very real. Remember, his excuse at the time was 'locker-room talk.' He said every one of those words."
ACCESS HOLLYWOOD: What you talkin' 'bout Willis? pic.twitter.com/EOFtO26czr
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) November 28, 2017
Also on Monday, White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders attempted to answer questions about whether Trump now believes the Access Hollywood tape was faked but failed to clearly articulate Trump's position.
"The President hasn't changed his position. I think if there's anything the President questions, it's the media's reporting on that accuracy," Sanders said. "What he didn't like and what he found troubling were the accounts that are being reported now."
But Sanders did not specify which "accounts" are now "troubling" Trump.
[Featured Image by Rob Kim/Getty Images]