Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. Southern District of New York against Hillary Clinton over the former secretary of state calling Gabbard a Russian asset.
Clinton peddled the conspiracy theory in October that Gabbard was an agent of the Russian government being propped up by the Kremlin to launch a third-party presidential run to hurt Democrats.
“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 coming presidential election on former Obama White House adviser David Plouffe’s podcast. “She’s the favorite of the Russians.”
Gabbard’s attorneys charged Clinton with having “smeared” Gabbard’s “political and personal reputation.”
“Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” said Brian Dunne, an attorney for Gabbard. “Rep. Gabbard’s presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damaged by Clinton’s malicious and demonstrably false remarks.”
During last fall’s podcast, Clinton also alleged that former Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein was a Russian asset after claiming the Russian government had already launched operations to prop up Gabbard.
“They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her [Gabbard] so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset. I mean totally,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s attack on Gabbard prompted several Democratic presidential candidates to defend Gabbard, boosting Gabbard’s popularity in the race and presenting a fundraising catalyst for the Hawaii congresswoman’s struggling campaign. The feud with the Democratic Party’s 2016 nominee helped Gabbard land a spot on the November debate stage.
Tulsi Gabbard is now fundraising off the Clinton attack
Email to supporters just now >> pic.twitter.com/NmEObQI2GS
— Jesse Byrnes (@jessebyrnes) October 19, 2019
The November debate, however, has been Gabbard’s last debate performance after the congresswoman failed to meet thresholds set by the Democratic National Committee to earn a podium at the primetime events. There are no more debates before the first votes are cast in the 2020 election at the Iowa caucuses Feb. 3.