In an interview with David Plouffe for his podcast Campaign HQ, Hillary Clinton alleged that Russia is grooming Tulsi Gabbard as a third party spoiler candidate, and labeled Jill Stein a Russian asset.
Said Clinton: “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. 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. So I don’t know who it’s going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed.”
When asked if Clinton was referring to Tulsi Gabbard, her spokesman Nick Merrill told CNN’s Dan Merica, “If the nesting doll fits.”
Gabbard has pledged not to run as a third party candidate in an interview with CNN.
During this week’s debate, Gabbard denied that she’s a Russian asset. She called those making the allegations “completely despicable.”
UPDATE. Gabbard has responded: “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 concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”