During an appearance on the David Plouffe’s Campaign HQ podcast, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, accused 2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein of being a Russian asset. Clinton also accused the Russians of “grooming” a current Democratic presidential candidate, presumably Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, to be a 2020 third party candidate and spoil the election in favor of President Donald Trump.
They (Russia) know [Trump] can’t win without a third-party candidate. I’m not making any predictions but I think they have 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. 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.
In response, Jill Stein tweeted:
It’s a shame HRC is peddling conspiracy theories to justify her failure instead of reflecting on real reasons Dems lost in 2016. You can slander progressives as “Russian assets”, but you can’t hide the fact that the DNC sabotaged Sanders & elevated Trump to set the stage for HRC. https://t.co/ImGDnL1451
HRC’s rant is exhibit A for how the establishment is using the new Cold War to crack down on dissent & feed the war machine. Instead of addressing the crises working people face, they’re painting progressives as the enemy. It’s as if they’re trying to lose to Trump again. https://t.co/h3SYb3HBNs
If HRC really believes all independent campaigns are Russian plots, why isn’t she calling for #RankedChoiceVoting to make it impossible for evil foreigners to “split the vote”? Until she does, all this Russia hysteria just looks like cynical McCarthyist left-punching. https://t.co/K3cL0V0Tma
—Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) October 18, 2019
Gabbard responded as well:
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.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019
Gabbard announced in August she would not run as a third party or Independent candidate.