Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is suing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for defamation over remarks that Clinton made in which she described a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate as a Russian asset, the Hill reports.
“Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans,” Gabbard’s lawyer Brian Dunne said in a statement.
“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.”
Clinton made the remarks last October during an appearance on Campaign HQ with Democratic strategist David Plouffe. She claimed that Russians were “grooming” a Democratic candidate for a third-party bid. Clinton did not mention Gabbard by name.
“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 said. “Yeah, she’s a Russian asset, I mean totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate.”
According to Gabbard’s attorneys, “Clinton’s peddling of this theory has harmed Tulsi, has harmed American voters, and has harmed American democracy. 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.”
In response, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill called the lawsuit—which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, NBC News reports—“ridiculous.”
Gabbard is seeking $50 million in damages.