New York, NY – Democratic presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has filed a $50 million lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, accusing the 2016 Democratic nominee of defamation.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Wednesday, Gabbard claimed that Clinton deliberately spread false allegations accusing the 2020 presidential hopeful of being a “Russian asset,” The Hill reported.
Clinton’s comments were made during an interview with podcast Campaign HQ in 2019, during which she suggested that Gabbard was both a “Russian asset” and “the favorite of the Russians,” according to FOX News.
“They’re also going to do third-party,” Clinton said at the time, according to The Hill. “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.”
“She’s the favorite of the Russians, 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,” Clinton continued. “Yeah, she’s a Russian asset, I mean totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate.”
She did not specifically name Gabbard during the interview, but made it clear who she was referring to, FOX News reported.
When Clinton was asked whether the alleged “Russian asset” she was speaking of was Gabbard, her spokesperson, Nick Merrill made a reference to Russian dolls, FOX News reported.
“If the nesting doll fits,” Merrill replied.
In her lawsuit, Gabbard claimed that Clinton’s comments have damaged her “political and personal reputation,” The Hill reported.
“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,” Gabbard’s attorney, Brian Dunne, said in a statement.
“Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” Dunne added.
The lawsuit referred to Clinton as a “cutthroat politician,” and alleged that she made the Russian-asset comments about Gabbard as “retribution” for Gabbard having endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders instead of Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primary, The Hill reported.
“Clinton was extremely angry—to put it mildly—that Tulsi endorsed Senator Sanders over her,” the lawsuit read, according to FOX News.
“Clinton has not gotten over her loss in that election,” the lawsuit read, according to USA Today.
It accused her of blaming many people for her loss, but noted that “Clinton reserves a special hatred and animosity for Tulsi—who never endorsed Clinton, did not campaign for her, and to top it off, gave the nomination speech for Senator Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.”
Gabbard claimed that members of Clinton’s team warned her that they “would never forget this slight,” and that they no longer trusted Gabbard’s “judgement,” FOX News reported.
The lawsuit also accused Clinton of harming voters, Gabbard, and “American democracy” by “peddling” her theories about Gabbard, according to The Hill.
“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 read.
Gabbard adamantly denied being a Russian asset, and said that no one “controls her or her presidential campaign,” FOX News reported.
“One would expect someone of Mrs. Clinton’s political background to act with a greater level of maturity and dignity, but her personal hostility toward Rep. Gabbard apparently clouded Mrs. Clinton’s reason and blinded her to U.S. defamation laws,” Dunne said.
Merrill called the suit “ridiculous,” according to The Hill.