Hillary Clinton can’t seem to keep her nose out of the 2020 primaries–and now she’s being sued for defamation.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is filing a defamation lawsuit against Hillary Clinton.
According to The Hill, Clinton, speaking in a podcast, recently referred to the Hawaii Democrat as a “Russian asset.” Gabbard, in response, filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Not surprisingly, Gabbard’s attorneys have taken a firm stance against Clinton. In a statement, they accused Clinton of “smearing” Gabbard’s “political and personal reputation.”
“Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” said Gabbard attorney Brian Dunne.
“Rep. Gabbard’s presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damages by Clinton’s maliciously and demonstrably false remarks,” Dunne added.
The Hill notes that Gabbard’s complaint relates to an October podcast, in which Clinton claimed that Republicans were “grooming” a Democratic candidate for a potential third-party bid. Clinton also alleged that that same candidate was preferred by Russia’s political elite, too.
“They’re also going to do third-party,” Clinton said. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate.”
While Clinton didn’t name names, she was obviously speaking about Gabbard.
“She’s the favorite of the Russians,” Clinton continued, “they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset, I mean, totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate.”
Stein, too, has denied Clinton’s allegations, calling them an “unhinged conspiracy.”
Gabbard, for her part, believes that Clinton may be retaliating against her for endorsing Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary.
“Clinton’s false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi’s presidential campaign,” the lawsuit states. Gabbard’s attorneys say they also believe Clinton’s continued “peddling of this theory” is hurting not just their client but the sum of “American democracy.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, Clinton, who was among the least popular presidential candidates in modern history, has also criticized—and been criticized for—attacking Sen. Sanders, claiming that “nobody likes him.”
“Tulsi brings this lawsuit to ensure that the truth prevails and to ensure this country’s political elites are held accountable for intentionally trying to distort the truth in the midst of a critical Presidential election,” the lawsuit states.
Gabbard is reportedly seeking up to $50 million in damages for potential lost votes and funding. She’s also requesting special and punitive damages in “view of Clinton’s malicious and unrepentant conduct.”
Nevertheless, Gabbard remains a long-shot candidate: she’s bottomed up in preliminary polls, trailing front-runners Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden by about 20%.