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Possible Russian Asset Tulsi Gabbard Sure Doesn’t Like Being Called a Russian Asset

Tulsi Gabbard looks sad.

This week, Hillary Clinton appeared on Campaign HQ, the podcast from Barack Obama’s former campaign manager David Plouffe’s. During the talk, she suggested that Russia is still currently interfering in our presidential elections. To start, she believes the Russians might have compromising information of Donald Trump,

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“I don’t know what Putin has on him, whether it’s both personal and financial,” Clinton said. “I assume it is.”

She also thinks some of (or at least one of) the Democratic nominees might be susceptible to their influence.

Clinton said she believed 2016 Green Party nominee Jill Stein was a Russian asset (which, to be clear, is not the same as a Russian agent or even indicative or any sort of cooperative efforts), and now she thinks Tulsi Gabbard is being used in the same way.

“They’re also going to do third-party again,” she said. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone 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.”

(Note 10/23: The New York Times (which was not the original source in this article) edited their original reporting to clarify that it was Republicans, not Russians who Clinton speculates are “grooming” a Democrat to run as a third-party candidate. However, she believes they are doing so because Gabbard, like Stein before her, is an asset to foreign agents looking to interfere in the election and sow discord here in the US. If you want to listen for yourself, this comes up around the 35:30 mark of the podcast, which you can listen to here or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.)

Clinton was in no way the first person to make this assessment. At the last Democratic debate, Gabbard said tat the New York Times had recently “put out an article saying that I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist, and all these different smears.”

That’s not exactly true, by the way. That article, in addition to noting that Gabbard has gained support from everyone from libertarians to white nationalists and professional conspiracy theorists, points to “the frequent mentions of Ms. Gabbard in the Russian state news media.” It did not suggest she was working with Russian agents.

Still, Gabbard did not take Clinton’s criticism too well.

I’ll just let Cory Booker respond for all of us here.

Meanwhile, some of the more fringe 2020 Democratic candidates are coming out with support for Tulsi.

As a reminder, women can also be terrible and while many methods of attacking women are gendered, not every criticism of a womon is inherently misogynistic.

Andrew Yang also came out in support of Gabbard.

It was also very clear that a lot of the people supporting Gabbard weren’t actually people. That’s not to say she doesn’t have real supporters (even supporters who aren’t Richard Spencer followers), but the bots were out in full force. (Note: If an account’s user name ends in like six random digits, don’t even bother responding. Just mute, block, or ignore.)

(image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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