It appears that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refuses to quietly waddle off into the sunset and has purposely injected herself into the 2020 Democratic debate.
The former first lady – appearing in Campaign HQ’s podcast – took a bizarre swipe directed perhaps at 2020 presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, calling the 38-year-old legislator from Hawaii a “favorite of the Russians.”
Clinton while not actually naming Gabbard by name doubled down and accused one of the 5- women running for president on the Democratic ticket of being a Russian asset.
The former 2016 presidential candidate, however, is extremely careful in avoiding a libel lawsuit by suggesting that the former military veteran may be conspiring with the Russian government, suggesting that the congresswoman from 2nd congressional district is being “groomed” for perhaps a third party run to sabotage the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.
According to CNN, Clinton made the unsubstantiated accusation during the podcast interview when she suddenly singled out what most observers believe to be the former combat veteran, who served a tour in Iraq and another in Kuwait saying, “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.”
While Clinton gives herself just enough wiggle-room to perhaps avoid being sued for slander by Gabbard. There are four other women running for President. California’s Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and author Marianne Williamson, however none of the other women have been accused by CNN and the New York Times of courting the Russians.
“They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,” Clinton said.
Gabbard and her spokespeople did not respond to questions from CNN.
“If the nesting doll fits,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said when asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard.
“This is not some outlandish claim. This is reality,” Merrill said. “If the Russian propaganda machines, both their state media and their bot and troll operations, is backing a candidate aligned with their interests that is just a reality it is not speculation.”
Gabbard, in a late August interview with CNN, ruled out a third-party bid.
“I will not,” the Hawaii Democrat told CNN. “No, I have ruled that out.”
Gabbard has tried to fight off the charge that she is being pushed by Russian interests.
“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,” Gabbard said, referring to a recent article that said she is being backed by Russians on Twitter. “This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia, “completely despicable.”
As for Clinton’s assertions regarding anything Russian, back in 2012 and again in 2016, Clinton accused then-presidential candidate Jill Stein of the Green Party of also being a “Russian asset.”
However, when asked to provide proof regarding Stein’s involvement with Russia, Clinton could not provide any evidence. Some political observers believe that Clinton’s wrath towards Stein’s third-party candidacy in 2016 was due to Clinton’s belief that Stein siphoned off votes intended for her.
At the time Clinton said, “That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset.”
Adding, “They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it is 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.”
What’s at play here is Clinton’s inability to end her obsession with the 2016 election, and refusing to simply walk away.