Hillary Clinton appeared to claim that Russia wants Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) to run as a third-party candidate during a podcast interview this week.
“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
Earlier this week Gabbard pushed back against the notion that she was a “Russian asset” calling it “completely despicable” while answering a question about President Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds in Syria during the fourth 2020 Democratic primary debate.
“Just two days ago, the New York Times put out an article saying that I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears,” Gabbard said, referring to a story that noted Gabbard has been mentioned frequently by RT, Russia’s state-backed news agency. “This morning a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable.”
Despite Clinton’s suggestion that Gabbard would run as a third-party candidate, the Hawaii lawmaker has already addressed the possibility.
In August, Gabbard told CNN she wasn’t entertaining the idea.
“I will not, no,” she said. “I’ve ruled that out. I’m going to continue to focus on moving our campaign forward, continuing this grassroots campaign, continuing to deliver our message to the American people.”
Tulsi Gabbard says she won't run as an independent if she doesn’t secure the Democratic nomination: “I've ruled that out. I'm going to continue to focus on moving our campaign forward, continuing this grassroots campaign, continuing to deliver our message to the American people” pic.twitter.com/8E0HZ9PKni— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 29, 2019
During the interview, Clinton also called former Green Party nominee Jill Stein a “Russian asset.”
Update 3:28pm CT: Gabbard responded with flames, accusing Clinton of orchestrating an entire smear campaign against her.
Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a …— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
… concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and …— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
… powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.