Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard, who recently has defended herself against assertions that she's a Russian asset, accused the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of "trying to hold a pre-primary" in the media to weed out a potential 2020 party nominee.
In a pre-recorded statement for a LULAC - NewsMaxTV town hall Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, Gabbard accused the "DNC and its corporate media allies" of "trying to kind of hold a pre-primary election before you, the voters, have the opportunity to vote yourselves, especially those voters in the early states."
The Hawaii congresswoman continued, "I hope that the DNC hears this message loud and clear, gets out of the way just to allow voters to exercise your responsibility and your right to vote so that it is nothing but your voices that are heard in this election."
Gabbard also went after Hillary Clinton for comments she made last week alluding to the possibility that Russians have "got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate."
Gabbard, an anti-interventionist candidate, told Fox News' Sean Hannity, "What is so concerning about what HIllary Clinton is doing here is, she is not only calling me a traitor, she is not only trying to smear my character, she is sending a warning to every veteran, every single American, anyone who stands up against the war-mongering foreign policies that really are her legacy."
The former Army National Guard major who served in Iraq also defended her stance on the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
"I have not called for impeachment. I've supported the inquiry," she said at the town hall. "I still remain concerned about this inquiry being overshadowed by partisan interests."
Gabbard doubled down on her stance on impeachment, telling Hannity, "I have long expressed my concern about going through impeachment proceedings in a very, very partisan way because it will only further tear apart an already divided country."
"I think there are areas of concern that were raised around the conversations that happened between Trump and the Ukranian president, which is why I supported the inquiry," she said of the July 25 phone call between the two leaders. Congressional Democrats alleged that Trump tried to pressure Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, the 2020 hopeful and former vice president, and his son Hunter for possible corruption in exchange for the release of foreign military aid. Trump repeatedly has denied doing anything wrong.
Gabbard continued, "I think that the inquiry needs to be done in a very narrowly focused way and it must be done transparently. I don't what going on in those closed doors. We, as members of Congress, don't have access to the information that is being shared and I think the American people deserve to know exactly what the facts are, what the evidence is that is being presented as this inquiry goes on."
Republican lawmakers on Wednesday stormed a secure House facility, stopping a closed-door deposition related to the Trump impeachment inquiry, to protest what they called a lack of transparency by House Democrats.