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Tulsi Gabbard fires back at Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that she’s a Russian pawn

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), shown in August, is seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
(Getty Images)

It’s Hillary Clinton vs. Tulsi Gabbard on the sidelines of the 2020 presidential race.

The Hawaii congresswoman fought back after Clinton appeared to call her “the favorite of the Russians” in a recent interview and said she believes the Republicans have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” Clinton, the former senator, U.S. secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, did not name Gabbard directly.

For the record:
9:42 AM, Oct. 25, 2019 In an Oct. 18 article about Democrats Tulsi Gabbard and Hillary Clinton, the Associated Press reported erroneously that Clinton said she believes the Russians have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” She was referring to Republicans, not Russians, according to an aide.

In a series of tweets Friday, Gabbard called Clinton the “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.” Gabbard also alleged there has been a “concerted campaign” to destroy her reputation since she announced her presidential run in January.

“It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me,” Gabbard tweeted about Clinton. “Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

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There is lingering trepidation in the Democratic Party of a repeat of the 2016 presidential race, when Russia interfered in the U.S. election in an effort to help Donald Trump defeat Clinton. U.S intelligence agencies have warned that Russia intends to meddle in the 2020 presidential election as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin has mocked that possibility, joking earlier this month that Moscow would “definitely intervene” again.

During a Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday, Gabbard criticized a TV commentator who she said had called her “an asset of Russia.” She called the comments “completely despicable.”

Without naming Gabbard, Clinton seemed to echo the commentator’s remark during a podcast appearance this week on “Campaign HQ with David Plouffe.” Plouffe was campaign manager for President Obama in 2008 and served as a senior advisor to the president.

“She’s the favorite of the Russians,” Clinton said, referring to the person she had earlier identified as a woman “who’s currently in the Democratic primary.” “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

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Gabbard, who is polling in the very low single digits, took part in a primary debate on Tuesday after threatening to boycott over what she claimed was the Democratic Party’s “rigging” of the election. She barely hit the Democratic National Committee’s qualifications for the October debate after falling short in September.

The field of Democrats vying to be the party’s nominee in 2020 remains crowded. Here are the 17 candidates competing to face President Trump.

In the interview, Clinton also called President Trump “Vladimir Putin’s dream.” She went on to say that Trump’s inauguration speech was “like a declaration of war on half of America.” Clinton also describes 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein as “a Russian asset.”

The Russians know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, Clinton added.

Gabbard said later Friday on CBSN that she “will not be leaving the Democratic Party. I will not be running as an independent or a third-party candidate.”

Stein, who ran against Trump and Clinton as a Green Party candidate, received about 1% of the vote in the 2016 election, but some Democrats said her candidacy siphoned votes away from Clinton and helped Trump win, particularly in states such as Wisconsin. The Senate Intelligence Committee asked Stein for documents as part of its probe into Russian interference in the election because she attended a 2015 dinner in Moscow sponsored by Russian television network RT with Putin. Stein has said she attended “with a message of Middle East peace, diplomacy and cooperation.”

In a tweet Friday, Stein accused Clinton of “peddling conspiracy theories to justify her failure instead of reflecting on real reasons Dems lost in 2016.”

Mayor Wayne Messam — whose Florida city has more people than Pete Buttigieg’s — got national attention for his presidential bid, at first. But the FEC said his campaign raised $5 in the third quarter.


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