The Access Hollywood tape that caused a massive uproar in the general election – the one where Donald Trump bragged about walking up to women and grabbing them by their nethers – was leaked by NBC News itself, according to Page Six.

The infamous “Access Hollywood” tape — in which President Donald Trump bragged about grabbing women by the hoo-ha — was an inside job, leaked by an NBC News staffer on Billy Bush’s own “Today” show, multiple sources tell Page Six.

“The tape was leaked by the NBC News division, by somebody at the ‘Today’ show,” says one source. “NBC News knew for a while about the existence of the tape. Billy himself had told them about it. People in the news division became frustrated that ‘Access Hollywood’ was taking too long to air it and decided it had to come out.”

But wait. It gets better.

“The leaked tape served a dual purpose: It helped get Bush out of the way — Matt Lauer didn’t like him and felt he was a liability — and NBC thought it would derail Trump,” says the source. “But all it did was crush Billy, and, ironically, his own network was behind it.”

Now, before anyone jumps on me, no I am not saying what Trump said was okay. What he said was absolutely horrendous.

However, the leak itself was a calculated effort by a major news organization to derail a presidential candidate. That is a huge story.

The leaker is still at NBC and has not been disciplined, says the source, who adds, “There was no investigation, no internal witch hunt by NBC into who leaked the tape. It served their purposes.”

Let’s suppose for a moment that Matt Lauer feeling threatened by Billy Bush played a much bigger role in the decision. That is still a big deal because it means whoever at NBC News did leak the tape had to have done so knowing it would have a massive impact on the presidential election. No one working in news is that dumb.

And you can expect this story will play right into the hands of the Trump Administration’s goal of de-legitimizing the press. “Oh look, NBC News purposefully tried to sway the election. Fake news! They’re not to be trusted ever again.”

And they’ll deserve it.