Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed that Russia is ‘grooming’ a member of the Democratic Party that is currently in the primary for the presidential race, in order to become a third-party candidate and champion their interests.
The remarks seem to be directed at Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who has been accused of being cozy with Russia in the past, CNN reported.
“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said, speaking on a podcast with former Obama adviser David Plouffe. “She’s the favorite of the Russians.”
Clinton never names Gabbard, but there are only five women running for President — Gabbard, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and author Marianne Williamson — and none of the other women have been accused of being boosted by Russia.
Clinton did not provide proof about how Russia is “grooming” Gabbard. She and her team pointed to allegations that Russian news and propaganda sites often report on Gabbard’s campaign and that moments in Gabbard’s campaign have been reportedly amplified by trolls and bots on Twitter with ties to Russia. Gabbard has denied those allegations.
“They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,” Clinton said.
Clinton’s team also noted that some of Gabbard’s foreign policy views align closely with Russian interests.
Gabbard responded on Twitter Friday afternoon to Clinton’s comments.
“Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain,” she tweeted.”From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation,” she added. “We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”