It’s another great day in the presidential campaign of stately hot dog casing Donald Trump, whose spokeswoman accidentally emailed a Politico reporter the inside details about a new plan to attack Hillary Clinton over a very old real estate scandal. Hope Hicks appears to have confused the reporter with a Trump campaign adviser who has a similar name. This is the definition of playing yourself.
From Politico’s Kenneth Vogel and Marc Caputo, who do a pretty good job not gloating about a scoop that literally sailed into their laps as though dropped by a carrier pigeon with a head injury:
Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo on Wednesday morning emailed a researcher at the Republican National Committee asking him to “work up information on HRC/Whitewater as soon as possible. This is for immediate use and for the afternoon talking points process.”
The email was obtained by POLITICO when Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who Caputo copied on his request to the RNC, accidentally responded instead to Marc Caputo, a POLITICO reporter who is not related to the Republican consultant.
In other words, then, Trump’s camp is planning to attack Clinton over Whitewater, in which a former judge named David Hale accused Bill and Hillary both of shady and illegal real estate doings.
Whitewater is a particularly abstruse and hard to understand chapter in the history of alleged Clinton scandals. Briefly: Hale accused Bill Clinton of pressuring him in 1979 or so into loaning money to Susan McDougal, the wife of James B. McDougal, a banker who partnered with the Clintons in a planned vacation home development along the Arkansas River in the Ozarks. Whitewater failed, Hale accused Bill Clinton of forcing him to make a loan that benefited both him and Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, the banking company MacDougal set up after Whitewater failed. Over the course of a federal investigation, fifteen people were convicted of various charges; none of them were the Clintons. In 2002, after a seven-year investigation, an independent investigative body said there was “insufficient evidence” to bring charges against either of the Clintons. Clinton aide Vince Foster was also involved in Whitewater and his 1993 suicide fueled additional conspiracy theories about the Clintons’ real estate dealings.
If you’re still lost, and you probably are, here’s a Saturday Night Live clip from the time in which a bunch of rockers gather in a studio to try to sing you through it:
Politico reports that the RNC’s chief strategist Sean Spicer issued a statement saying the RNC’s research team is “the best in the business,” while not responding at all to questions about how the RNC might help the Trump campaign make Whitewater into a renewed issue.
Hicks’ accidental email is the second, less hilarious example of Republicans stinging themselves in recent weeks; not long ago, determined if bumbling right-wing sting artist James O’Keefe forgot to hang up after leaving a phone message for the Open Society Foundations, a nonprofit founded by liberal billionaire George Soros. O’Keefe planned to “investigate” Soros-linked entities for “wrongdoing,” using his time-tested tactic of impersonating someone he’s not. He explained all to his staff on a seven-minute voicemail he unknowingly left for someone who works for Open Society.
Trump’s last ad also attacked Hillary Clinton by referring to sexual assault allegations against Bill, in an ad that was as poorly-constructed as it was fucking gross.
Hope Hicks, right, and Daniel Scavino Jr., Director for Social Media for Trump Campaign, in May 2016. Photo via AP