- The Washington Times - Monday, November 11, 2019

Lawyers representing Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard have sent a letter to Hillary Clinton demanding she publicly apologize and retract a “fabricated” statement suggesting that Ms. Gabbard is a “Russian asset.”

“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.”

Ms. Clinton made headlines in October after she seemingly insinuated during a podcast interview that Ms. Gabbard was being “groomed” by the Russians to eventually run as a third-party candidate.

“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,” the former secretary of state said, adding that she thinks Ms. Gabbard is an “asset” and “favorite” of the Russians.

Ms. Gabbard has forcefully pushed back against the claim, defending her service in Congress and the Hawaii Army National Guard and calling Ms. Clinton the “embodiment of corruption” that has “sickened” the Democratic Party for decades.

Ms. Clinton later tried to clarify her statement to say she was taking about Republicans, not Russians, but Ms. Gabbard isn’t buying it. In their letter, Ms. Gabbard’s lawyers demanded that Ms. Clinton hold a press conference to publicly apologize and retract her allegations, and they want her to post the retraction on her Twitter account and distribute it to all the major news outlets. They also demanded that Mrs. Clinton state that she “supports and admires” Ms. Gabbard’s work.

Ms. Clinton has not commented on the letter.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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