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Billy Bush, Donald Trump and actress Arianne Zucker.

“Access Hollywood”/Washington Post

Why are we talking about the Access Hollywood tape again?

The tape, released just weeks before the 2016 elections, was considered so damning at the time that many allies of now-President Trump said he should get out of the race. Cajoled by his advisers, Mr. Trump admitted at the time that the contents of the tape were real and apologized for his comments.

But The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the president is now privately casting doubt about the authenticity of the tape even though its veracity was not questioned at the time. According to the Times, Mr. Trump told a Republican senator that in January that “we don’t think that was my voice,” and that he has made similar claims recently to the consternation of his advisers.

The Times suggests that Mr. Trump’s newfound skepticism about the tape may have something to do with his support for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused by multiple women of preying on them when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s.

What was said on the tape?

The tape, which recorded a 2004 conversation between Mr. Trump and Access Hollywood host Billy Bush in which the future president used sexist and disparaging language about women as Bush laughed along. The tape opened up the future president to allegations of sexual assault, and cost Bush his job at NBC News.

“I wish I had changed the topic,” Bush said earlier this year

The tape is best remembered as the moment where Mr. Trump boasted that women allowed him to “grab them by the p****.” He also boasted of trying to sleep with married women. 

What did Mr. Trump say at the time?

“This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” Mr. Trump said after the tape was unearthed. “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

“I’ve said and done things I regret,” Mr. Trump said in a recorded statement released by his campaign later that day. “And the words released today on this more than a decade old video are one of them.”

In a conversation earlier this year with CBS News’ 60 Minutes earlier this year, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon reaffirmed that the tape was authentic. “People didn’t care,” Bannon said. “They knew Donald Trump was just doing locker room talk with a guy. And they dismissed it. It had no lasting impact on the campaign.” 

What is the White House saying now?

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Mr. Trump “hasn’t changed his position” on the authenticity of the tape. 

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