- The Washington Times - Friday, October 18, 2019

Hillary Clinton suggested that a female candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential field — almost undoubtedly Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — is being groomed to run as a third-party candidate to boost President Trump’s reelection chances.

“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary, and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Mrs. Clinton told former Obama adviser David Plouffe on the “Campaign HQ” podcast.

“She’s the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,” said Mrs. Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

SEE ALSO: Gabbard rips ‘embodiment of corruption’ Clinton in response to Russian ‘favorite’ jab

“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not,” Mrs. Clinton said of Ms. Stein, the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate. “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, and so I don’t know who it’s going to be but I will guarantee they’ll have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it,” she said.

Ms. Gabbard has previously said she will not launch a third-party presidential bid if she doesn’t win the Democratic nomination.

On Friday, the Hawaii Democrat hit back at Mrs. Clinton, calling her the “queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”

Ms. Gabbard said there’s been a “concerted campaign” to destroy her reputation since she entered the race.

“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,” she said on Twitter. “It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

At Tuesday’s debate, the congresswoman also pushed back against the notion that she’s a “Russian asset.”

“Just two days ago, the New York Times put out an article saying that I’m a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears,” Ms. Gabbard said. “This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I’m an asset of Russia. Completely despicable.”

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