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Donald Trump really is the Matt Drudge of presidential candidates.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The punchline of this Politico story is that Trump’s spokesperson Hope Hicks emailed Marc Caputo, a Politico reporter, about a plan to “work up information on HRC/Whitewater as soon as possible,” instead of emailing Trump’s campaign adviser Michael Caputo. Cat’s out of the bag! But the joke’s really on us, because it reveals that the Trump strategy for attacking Clinton boils down to a retread of the controversies, invented and not, that dogged the Clintons in the 1990s. In the past week we’ve gone through Monica Lewinsky, Vince Foster, and now Whitewater, sending media outlets scurrying to produce explainers to remind people—or, in many cases, to inform them for the first time—what the fuss was about.

There are many, many ways to attack Hillary Clinton. Look no further than the report made public today by the State Department’s inspector general about Clinton’s private email server. So it’s notable that Trump would go back to the Gingrich era of Clinton-bashing for material, an era that saw the rise of Matt Drudge and other right-wing conspiracy-peddlers (like David Brock) who circulated these stories and injected them into the media bloodstream. The difference now is that the candidate himself is doing the dirty work for them.