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

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NATION & WORLD - By Hunter Woodall

MANCH­ESTER, N.H. — 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 Rus­sians 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.

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.”

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 last week, Gab­bard crit­i­cized a TV com­men­ta­tor who she said had called her “an as­set of Rus­sia.”

With­out nam­ing Gab­bard, Clin­ton seemed to echo the com­men­ta­tor’s re­mark dur­ing a re­cent pod­cast ap­pear­ance on “Cam­paign HQ with David Plouffe.”

Plouffe was cam­paign man­ager for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in 2008 and served as served as a se­nior adviser to the pres­i­dent.

Clin­ton also called Trump “Vladimir Putin’s dream” in the in­ter­view. 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.”

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.

Gab­bard

Clin­ton

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