Tulsi Gabbard accuses Hillary Clinton of defamation and demands an apology

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The letter: On Monday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) attorneys wrote an official letter to Hillary Clinton, demanding the former secretary of state apologize and retract her comments on Gabbard and Russia. “Your statement is defamatory, and we demand that you retract it immediately,” the letter said.

Gabbard’s legal counsel accused Clinton of defamation in the letter, demanding that she verbally retract the comments, post the retraction on her Twitter account and send it to major news outlets, according to The Hill.

“In making the statement, you knew it was false. Congresswoman Gabbard is not a Russian asset and is not being groomed by Russia,” the letter said. “Besides your statement, no law enforcement or intelligence agencies have claimed, much less presented any evidence, that Congresswoman Gabbard is a Russian asset. This fabricated story is so facially improbable that it is actionable as defamation.”

Clinton’s comments: During her appearance on the “HQ podcast” on Oct.17, Clinton said that one Democratic candidate is being “groomed” by Russia for a third-party bid, without mentioning Gabbard by name.

“I think they’ve got their eye somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s a favorite of the Russians,” said Clinton. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

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Clinton also discussed 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein, saying that Stein was a “Russian asset.”

“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset. Yeah, she’s a Russian asset. I mean – totally. They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate,” Clinton said. A spokesperson for Clinton later said that the 2016 Democratic nominee meant Gabbard was being groomed by Republicans. The congresswoman’s lawyers rejected that explanation.

“It appears you may now be claiming that this statement is about Republicans (not Russians) grooming Gabbard,” the letter read. “But this makes no sense in light of what you actually said. After you made the statement linking Congresswoman Gabbard to the Russians, you (through your spokesman) doubled down on it with the Russian nesting dolls remark.”

Gabbard’s letter is her latest response to Clinton’s comments, after posting a string of tweets lambasting the former first lady.

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