A Trump campaign plan to target Hillary Clinton over the decades-old Whitewater real estate scandal was made public on Wednesday afternoon when a Trump spokeswoman accidentally included a Politico reporter on the email thread.
According to Politico’s report, Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo 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.”
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, who was cced on Caputo’s email, accidentally responded to Politico reporter Marc Caputo instead, making the entire email exchange visible.
RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer defended his committee’s research team as “the best in the business” in a statement to Politico.
The Whitewater request, Spicer said in the statement, was “just another example of Republican campaigns up and down the ballot looking to us for the best information. Whether it’s the Trump campaign or top Senate, House or down ballot candidates we will consistently provide them with the resources they need to win.”
Hicks did not respond to Politico’s request for comment, but in the email she accidentally sent to Marc Caputo she cautioned against directly soliciting RNC researchers with requests. Her response suggested that the researcher, Michael Abboud, may soon be hired by the Trump campaign.
“He is still an employee of the RNC and we need to be sensitive to that until he comes over to our team full time,” Hicks wrote, according to Politico.
Trump has been strategically resurfacing 1990s-era scandals about Bill and Hillary Clinton this week, including conspiracy theories about the suicide of former Clinton aide Vince Foster and allegations about Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs.
The Whitewater controversy originated as a failed real estate venture that Hillary and Bill Clinton were involved in during the late 1970s and mushroomed during the Clinton presidency into a whole series of highly politicized and loosely connected scandals, subscandals, and pseudoscandals. Protracted investigations by special prosecutors and Congress of the many side dramas that came to be known collectively as Whitewater consumed much of the Clinton years. Several members of the Clintons’ circle were convicted for various levels of involvement, but the Clintons were ultimately cleared of wrongdoing.
This post has been updated.