Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton made the startling assertion that a current Democratic presidental candidate is a Russian asset.
Clinton made the comments on the Campaign HQ podcast hosted by David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager.
While speaking about the 2020 election and challenges Democrats will face, Clinton partially blamed third-party candidates on her loss and said that Russian operatives are “grooming” a Democratic candidate to run as a third-party candidate:
“They are also going to do third party again. 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. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her, so far.”
Clinton also accused Jill Stein, who ran as the Green Party candidate in 2016, of being a Russian asset:
“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset.”
Gabbard has been criticized for her foreign policy views and her weariness of what she calls ‘regime change wars.’ The New York Times scrutinized her recent claim that the Democratic National Committee is trying to rig the primary and said it had echoes of the Russian disinformation campaign in the 2016 election.
The Times ran an article on October 12 that said Russians had praised Gabbard and quoted Laura Rosenberg, a former foreign policy aide to Clinton, who suggested that Russian operatives are seeking to use Gabbard to cause division within the Democratic Party:
“‘The Russian activity could be part of a longer-term effort to drive a wedge among Democrats,’ she said. ‘This messaging has echoes of 2016.'”
The Times also reported that there have been ‘instances of suspicious activity surrounding Ms. Gabbard’s campaign.”:
“Disinformation experts have also pointed to instances of suspicious activity surrounding Ms. Gabbard’s campaign — in particular, a Twitter hashtag, #KamalaHarrisDestroyed, that trended among Ms. Gabbard’s supporters after the first Democratic debate, and appeared to be amplified by a coordinated network of bot-like accounts “
During the fourth Democratic debate, Gabbard said the Times called her a Russian asset and blasted CNN for featuring a guest who called her a Russian agent:
"Just two days ago the New York Times put out an article saying that I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears. This morning a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable." pic.twitter.com/ZmtDUWV6T1
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 16, 2019
The Hill reported that Twitter said it did not discover suspicious bot activity supporting Gabbard’s campaign.