Former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton claimed Tuesday that the Russians are propping up U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii for a third-party presidential run in 2020.
“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 of Russia’s involvement in the next presidential election on former Obama White House advisor David Plouffe’s podcast. “She’s the favorite of the Russians.”
During the interview, Clinton also branded former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein as a Russian asset.
“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which, she might not ’cause she’s also a Russian asset.” Clinton added. “She’s a Russian asset, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed.”
At this week’s presidential debate in Ohio, Gabbard went after The New York Times for publishing an article chronicling interest in the congresswoman from Russia and some associated with the so-called “alt-right” such as Richard Spencer and Steve Bannon. Gabbard complained the Times was falsely smearing her as a Russian asset, an accusation all too familiar to President Donald Trump, who was wrongly labeled as such for more than three years only to be exonerated after a drawn-out investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller.
Throughout the interview, Clinton spoke at length about Trump, claiming the president is aiding Vladimir Putin’s interests because the Russians have some type of compromising information against him.
“I don’t know what Putin has on him, whether it’s both personal or financial,” Clinton said.
The former presidential candidate also claimed that sexism and voter suppression played a role in her 2016 loss but never mentioned her failure to campaign hard in key swing states that flipped to Trump such as Wisconsin.