After an 11-year-old hot mic tape of Donald Trump bragging to Billy Bush about sexual assault dropped on Friday afternoon, it was widely assumed that it was the tip of the “oppo” iceberg. For one, Hillary Clinton’s team had no incentive to leak its most damaging material until right before the election. And the Billy Bush tape set off a rush to uncover similar information: By Sunday, rumors that there was an Apprentice video of Trump saying the “n-word” were circulating. The hunt was on.
But although some material has leaked in the wake of Friday’s revelations, there’s nothing to suggest that a trove of damaging recordings and transcripts is in the offing. On Sunday, CNN’s KFile posted a recording of Trump telling Howard Stern that it’s OK to call his daughter Ivanka a “piece of ass,” but they’ve been mining the Stern archives (to great effect) for the entirety of the election. And on Monday night, HuffPo published a transcript from The Celebrity Apprentice that included Trump saying this about country singer Emily West: “I assume you’re gonna leave this off, don’t put this shit on the show, you know. But her skin, her skin sucks, okay? I mean her skin, she needs some serious fuckin’ dermatology. ... You’re obviously not a skin man ... which is okay. I wish I wasn’t.” Being a “skin man” is not a thing. Also, weird!
But there might not be much more than that. The Apprentice tapes seem to be held in the legal equivalent of the Bellagio’s vault in Ocean’s 11. While many assumed that reality TV producer and America-ruiner Mark Burnett could release them, on Monday he said, “Not so fast.”
“MGM owns Mark Burnett’s production company and The Apprentice is one of its properties. Despite reports to the contrary, Mark Burnett does not have the ability or the right to release footage or other material from The Apprentice. Various contractual and legal requirement also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material.”
More damaging material is almost certainly out there, but don’t count on hearing about it before November 8.