CNN’s Jake Tapper did a segment today looking at the allegations of sexual assault being made against Donald Trump as well as those made against Bill Clinton. Tapper opens the segment asking if it’s possible to look at these allegations three weeks before a presidential election apart from the politics involved. The clip also includes a new interview with Juanita Broaddrick.
There have already been questions raised about some of Trump’s accusers though, once again, deciding whose account of an event that happened 35 years ago to believe often seems to come down to the underlying politics.
With regard to Juanita Broaddrick’s account of her story, there is an interesting side story involving evidence that could support some of her claims about Hillary Clinton. Broaddrick claims Hillary Clinton became part of a cover-up of what her husband had done when she pulled Broaddrick aside and said, “I want you to know that we appreciate everything you do for Bill.”
Earlier this year Vox’s Dylan Matthews wrote an “explainer” about Broaddrick’s accusations in which he claimed the accusation about Hillary was something Broaddrick only added to her story later on. But as you can see in the update at the bottom of his story, NBC’s Lisa Myers (who did the interview with Broaddrick’s for NBC News back in 1999) wrote to Vox to correct the record:
The original version of this article stated that Juanita Broaddrick added her accusations about Hillary Clinton after the initial round of reporting on her allegation against Bill Clinton. NBC’s Lisa Myers wrote in to Vox to clarify that the story was always a part of Broaddrick’s allegations. This article has been amended accordingly.
So Myers remembers Broaddrick mentioning the incident with Hillary even though that wound up on the cutting room floor back in 1999. At the time it probably seemed less important since Hillary had never run for office. Things are obviously very different now and what Broaddrick said at the time about Hillary is more significant.
And yet, NBC News has never released the full video of the 1999 interview. NBC’s reluctance to release it was noted last week by Yahoo News’ reporter Michael Isikoff. From Sidewire:
Broaddrick told her story to NBC and the WashPost in 99. Both organizations closely vetted her story and chose to run it. Also, NBC has the full tape of the original Lisa Meyers interview. Folks have made much of the fact that her claim about the conversation she had with Hillary wasn’t in the interview that run. Broaddrick said it got cut out; Lisa Myers has since agreed Broaddrick said this then and NBC chose to cut it out. So NBC ought to check its archive and run the full interview. (AS long as they’re now culling their archives!)
Isikoff appeared on Fox Business today and seemed somewhat embarrassed at having made this statement. Of course it’s true that Broaddrick’s statements to NBC News back in 1999 may not be identical to the ones she is making now. Either way, it’s hard to see why NBC would choose to sit on the tape when the topic of sexual allegations and presidential candidates is dominating the news.
I can’t help but be reminded of the decision by CBS News to sit on video of President Obama admitting he had not called the Benghazi attack terrorism in his Rose Garden speech the day after the attack. That clip, which was left over from a 60 Minutes interview done the same day, was obviously national news after it featured prominently in the presidential debate with Mitt Romney (and the fact-check by Candy Crowley). Yet CBS sat on it until two days before the election, finally releasing quietly on the web when it was too late to matter.
NBC News should release the full interview with Broaddrick. It’s obviously newsworthy at this moment in time.