Hillary Clinton says Tulsi Gabbard is a 'Russian asset' groomed to ensure Trump reelection
by Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, October 18, 2019
Hillary Clinton said that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is being groomed by Moscow to run as a third-party spoiler candidate in 2020 to help President Trump win reelection.
The former secretary of state pushed the theory on Campaign HQ podcast hosted by David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s campaign manager in 2008.
Plouffe and Clinton discussed hurdles the Democratic nominee would face and compared the 2020 race to Clinton’s loss to Trump in 2016. Plouffe asked Clinton about the part third-party candidates, such as Jill Stein of the Green Party, played in 2016, allowing Trump to secure key states.
"They are also going to do third party again," Clinton, 71, said. "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, referring to Gabbard, without mentioning the Hawaii representative by name.
"She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far. That's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset.
"They know they can't win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it's going to be, but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it."
UPDATE: Gabbard Responds
Gabbard, 38, has represented Hawaii in the House of Representatives since 2013. A major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, she served in a field medical unit of the in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009. This summer, she spent two weeks in Indonesia on a military training exercise.
In Tuesday's Democratic debate, Gabbard accused the New York Times of calling her a "Russian asset."
The newspaper published an Oct. 12 news article about Gabbard stating, "She is injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a 'rigging' of the 2020 election. That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media."
Gabbard said on the debate stage: "The New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime change war [in Syria]. 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."
In 2016, Gabbard supported Bernie Sanders over Clinton. But she congratulated Clinton on becoming the Democratic presidential nominee, saying: "She becomes the first woman to lead a major political party into the general election. Say what you will about her, let's give credit where it due. This is one tough, smart woman. Most might wilt under the fire and criticism she's endured."
Gabbard faces a 2020 primary challenge for her House seat from Democratic state senator Kai Kahele.
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