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Billy Bush said ‘everybody’ knew about the infamous Trump tape, but never suspected he’d be ‘taken out’ by it


It grabbed 'em by ... surprise.

Billy Bush’s TV hiatus ends Monday after three years of banishment over the infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which he can be heard cackling and egging on Donald Trump as the then-reality star boasts about hitting on married women and sexually assaulting others. It was filmed more than a decade before Trump would be elected president.

According to the the 47-year-old television host, who joins “Extra” Monday, the infamous tape was the worst kept secret at NBC, but he thought it would be Trump’s public image — not his own — that might be damaged if the video became public.

“You knew there was a tape?” "CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King asked Bush after he confessed he “was not prepared” for the impact the recording would have,

“Everybody at the network (knew),” he said. “I got taken out, but I wasn’t the target.”

Bush said NBC brass told him the day the infamous video went public that he had nothing to worry about. But two days later, he was told the network had cancelled his ride to work.

“(I) called my lawyer and I said, ‘Uh are we okay?’” he said. “'Nope.’”

The 2005 recording, which became public shortly before the 2016 presidential election, caught Trump and Bush chatting on a bus where a hot mic recorded the pair ogling soap opera star Arianne Zucker, who was standing outside waiting to give Trump a backstage tour of a set where he was about to appear in a scene with her. Before Zucker approached, Trump confided to Bush that he’s prone to uncontrollably groping beautiful women.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said.

“Whatever you want,” Bush concurred.

“You can do anything,”Trump said. “Grab 'em by the p---y.”

A repentant Bush told King that the person he was in that clip 14 years ago was a different person than what the “Extra” audience will be seeing now.

“It was my first year as the co-host of the show,” Bush said. “You know, you want people to like you, and you’re a little eager. I became a very different guy, so the guy that got fired, no question, was a very different guy.”