Ari Emanuel, a high-powered talent agent and the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, may have covered for his long-time friend Donald Trump in declining to release tapes of the President-elect, according to an expose by the Daily Beast.
Emanuel, who served as Trump’s agent, bought the Miss Universe Organization in 2015, and denied requests by high-ranking Democrats to release or investigate tapes in the organization’s video and audio archives, which Emanuel also owned. The release of a 2005 Access Hollywood tape in October in which Trump appeared to boast about assault was the result of an Associated Press story claiming that Trump used vulgar language on the set of The Apprentice.
The Daily Beast article noted that Emanuel was dismissive of friends’ and colleagues’ concerns about a Trump victory, saying that Trump’s campaign rhetoric was only intended to help him win and wasn’t intended to be taken seriously. A television executive producer cited by the website complained that Emanuel “promised a moderate Trump and I tended to believe him. I always knew that he was putting on a show to get votes, but now I get Mike Pence? I get Jeff Sessions? My kid has to deal with an educational system run by Betsy DeVos? Ari is as much a…snake-oil salesman as Trump.”
Following the release of the Access Hollywood tape, pressure mounted on Apprentice producer Mark Burnett to release further incriminating tapes of Trump. In a statement, Burnett said he is “not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy. I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division, and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.” In a joint statement with MGM, Burnett said he did not have the authority to release footage since his production company and Apprentice rights had been sold to MGM TV.