Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) on Wednesday filed a defamation lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who, without naming Gabbard directly, suggested the presidential candidate was “the favorite of the Russians.”
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, accuses Clinton of having “smeared” Gabbard’s “political and personal reputation.”
“Gabbard, a U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, asserts in her complaint that Clinton deliberately and maliciously made false statements in an attempt to derail Rep. Gabbard’s campaign, by alleging that Gabbard is a ‘Russian asset,’” a statement via Gabbard’s campaign reads.
“Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” the statement adds. “Rep. Gabbard’s presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damaged by Clinton’s malicious and demonstrably false remarks.”
In October, Clinton appeared on a podcast hosted by David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign manager, in which she appears to have claimed of the Hawaii Democrat:
[Russia] has a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting [Gabbard] 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.
Hours later, Clinton’s comments drew a strong rebuke from Gabbard, who called the failed White House candidate the “queen of warmongers” and accused her of prompting a New York Times hit piece released before a Democrat presidential debate:
President Donald Trump defended Gabbard against Clinton’s comments, stating that his former political rival had gone “crazy.”
“So now Crooked Hillary is at it again! She is calling Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard ‘a Russian favorite,’ and Jill Stein ‘a Russian asset,’” the president tweeted. “As you may have heard, I was called a big Russia lover also (actually, I do like Russian people. I like all people!). Hillary’s gone Crazy!”
Clinton has not responded to the lawsuit at this time.