Former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton implied Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian asset. Clinton said on the podcast Campaign HQ that Russia is “grooming” a Democratic Presidential candidate to be a third-party candidate. She furthered that the purpose of this was “serve their interests”. In the same Podcast, she accused 2016 Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein of also being a Russian asset. Both Gabbard and Stein replied to Clinton, with Gabbard referring to her as the “Queen of Warmongers”.
Great! 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. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a …
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
In light of the latest slanderous allegations from @HillaryClinton, I challenge her to a debate. It’s past time to give the American people the real debate they deserved in 2016, but were denied by the phony DNC/RNC-controlled Commission on Presidential Debates. https://t.co/OvvEjJ9sMx
— Dr. Jill Stein? (@DrJillStein) October 18, 2019
Since then, both a CNN Commentator and the View have doubled down on these claims. View hosts Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin called Gabbard “a useful idiot” in reference to the claim of her being a Russian asset. Several of the 2020 Democratic candidates have come to the defense of Gabbard in response. This includes Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg in a growing list.
The Evidence for Tulsi being a Russian Asset
Hillary Clinton’s claim that Gabbard, and by extension Jill Stein, is a Russian asset is based on three assertions. First is the idea that Russia has “a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her“. The problem is that this is based on a report that bots helped boost her numbers on Twitter after the second Presidential debate. The New York Times admits that there is no evidence that these actors, Russian or not, were coordinating with the Gabbard campaign. This makes Clinton’s argument one of guilt of association rather than one based on facts.
The second is based on the belief Jill Stein was the reason for Hillary’s loss in states like Pennsylvania. Though this doesn’t hold up in the numbers, as it makes the assumption Stein voters would have gone to Clinton. For Hillary to have won Pennsylvania 94% of Stein voters would have had to vote for her. Seeing as to how anti-establishment Stein is, her voters would have more likely not voted. This is because in 2016 41% of eligible voters didn’t vote in the first place, despite the election having a higher turnout than 2012.
The final of the arguments is again one of guilt of association. CNN Commentator Bakari Sellers was in agreement with Clinton saying “looking at her [Gabbard’s] relationships and affections for people like Bashar Al Assad, her admiring someone we know to be a war criminal, propping them up. I think those are questions that are going to have to be answered.”. This is the only evidence the commentator has given to this allegation. However, her criticisms of Trump’s recent withdrawal from Northern Syria would run contrary to this claim. Gabbard shows her position is not one of support of Assad, but condemnation at U.S. attempts at regime change through our support of Syrian rebels.
Clinton’s Russian Ties Run Deeper
While neither politician has any conclusive evidence for being a Russian asset, it’s far more likely that Clinton is than Gabbard. Clinton would be a far better target, as a former First Lady, Secretary of State, and Democratic nominee, than the low polling Gabbard. As well, unlike Gabbard, Clinton has actually had a scandal involving the Russians.
During the Uranium One Scandal, the Clinton Foundation had a cash flow incoming from Rosatom’s chairman. Four different donations were made during the time period of 2009 to 2013, totaling to $2.35 Million. Despite the deal struck between the Obama administration and Mrs. Clinton, these donations were never publicly disclosed. These revelations were only made public by Canadian records.
The money flow didn’t stop there, as Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank. This was amid Russia’s announcement of their intention to claim major stake in the company. This could be connected to why the State Department under Hillary Clinton signed off on the Russian uranium deal.
Hillary’s Allegations Backfired
While Clinton’s claim was definitely an attempt to discredit Gabbard, it has only seemed to strengthen her campaign. Both fellow Democratic Presidential Candidates and President Trump have come to defend her from Clinton’s claims. This has only “reignited divisions between establishment Democrats and the party outsiders” that cost her 2016. As author Tom Nichols puts it “The goal will not be to turn Democratic voters into Gabbard voters or Trump voters. It will be to confuse them, dispirit them, and alienate them from their own party—and then persuade them to stay home.”.
Clinton has not learned from her 2016 mistake and it is showing.