Fox News' Tucker Carlson said Tuesday night that NBC deliberately leaked the infamous tape of President Trump making crude remarks about women in 2005 to scupper his presidential campaign last fall.
In his opening monologue, the "Tucker Carlson Tonight" host contrasted the release of the tape, which was initially reported by the Washington Post, with MSNBC's constant reporting on purported ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Carlson said that MSNBC had gone to "remarkable lengths" to keep the Trump-Russia story alive, despite there being "no evidence that Russia collaborated with Donald Trump or his campaign to win the election [and] no evidence that Russian propaganda swung a single vote away from Hillary Clinton.
"There’s merely innuendo and conspiracy-mongering and connecting probably irrelevant dots," he added.
According to sources at NBC, Carlson claimed, the tape of Trump's ribald conversation with "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush was leaked to the Post with the knowledge of NBC brass, including NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andrew Lack.
"NBC’s motive?" Carlson asked. "To derail the Trump campaign two days before a presidential debate."
Carlson added that NBC executives knew of the tape for months, but were hesitant to broadcast it for fear of being accused of partisanship. But as the reality of a tight race became apparent last fall, he said, "NBC rose to the defense of Hillary Clinton and leaked that tape."
Reflecting on the public outcry after the tape's release, which included calls by members of both parties for Trump to quit the race, Carlson asked, "What do you think played a bigger role in the 2016 race, the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape or the Russian government? Just because NBC’s effort failed and Donald Trump won anyway doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.
"NBC News lied to the public to help destroy a politician they didn’t like," Carlson said. "We know that. We know they wouldn’t do it again, do we? Do we know they’re not doing it now?"