Gabbard says Clinton 'Russian asset' remarks are part of 'smear campaign' as 2020 Dems voice support
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard, D-H.I. accused Hillary Clinton "and her proxies" of starting a "smear campaign that has been waged against me and my candidacy and my campaign from the very first day that we began," pushing back on accusations that she is a "Russian asset."
"This smear campaign is coming from people like Hillary Clinton and her proxies, the foreign policy establishment, the military industrial complex, who obviously feel threatened by my message and by my campaign because they know that they can't control me," she told an NBC reporter on Saturday.
When asked if she would disavow support from foreign entities, including an official Twitter account of the Russian Embassy who has circulated support for the candidate online, in order to quell American fear of foreign interference in elections, Gabbard responded: "This is not about Russia."
"Foreign interference in our election is not a good thing. But what we're seeing, this is not about Russia," she said.
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"I don't control them. I don't control what anyone else says or does. All I can do is focus on the message that I am bringing to this campaign," she added.
In a podcast with former Obama adviser David Plouffe, Clinton said she wasn't "making any predictions, but [she thinks Russians] have got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate."
"She's the favorite of the Russians" she added, saying they "have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far."
Gabbard lashed out at Clinton on Twitter Friday calling her the "queen of warmongers [and the] embodiment of corruption" in response to the allegations.
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She also told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" that the former Secretary of State is waging a smear campaign against her because "she knows she can't control me."
She accused Clinton of having "blood on her hands" after the Iraq war she "championed."
"Their blood is on her hands. That's why she's smearing my character and trying to undermine my campaign," Gabbard said.
Gabbard received an outpouring of support from fellow 2020 Democratic candidates including Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang and Beto O'Rourke.
Yang wrote in a tweet: "Tulsi Gabbard deserves much more respect and thanks than this. She literally just got back from serving our country abroad."
Williamson chimed in: "The Democratic establishment has got to stop smearing women it finds inconvenient!" Adding, "the character assassination of women who don't toe the party line will backfire."
"You deserve respect and you have mine," she told Gabbard.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker posted a wide-eyed gif reacting to Gabbard's rebuttal.
O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman, defended Gabbard as well telling reporters "Tulsi is not being groomed by anyone. She is her own person. Obviously has served this country, continues to serve this country in uniform, in Congress, as a candidate for presidency so I think those facts speak for themselves."
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Clinton has since backed out of a speaking appearance at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit, where Gabbard was scheduled to speak.