- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 23, 2020

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii on Thursday said she’s not going to let failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “intimidate” her into “silence,” a day after she filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Mrs. Clinton defamed her last fall.

“For Hillary Clinton and her powerful allies to attempt to smear me and accuse me — really implying that I’m a traitor to the country that I love — is something that I cannot allow to go unchecked,” Ms. Gabbard, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said on “Fox & Friends.”

“I’m filing this lawsuit because I will not allow her or anyone to try to intimidate me or other patriotic Americans into silence,” she said.

The lawsuit said Mrs. Clinton falsely called Ms. Gabbard a “Russian asset” in a podcast interview last fall and said the statements have cost the congresswoman more than $50 million in damages.

It alleges that the comments were part of a revenge plot on the part of Mrs. Clinton after Ms. Gabbard resigned her post as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president in February 2016.

A Clinton spokesman responded to the lawsuit by saying: “That’s ridiculous.”

Ms. Gabbard has been going all-in on New Hampshire in her long-shot bid for the White House and has the luxury of campaigning while four of her rivals are stuck in Washington, D.C., for the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.

But she said impeachment isn’t as high a priority for voters as other issues.

“Very rarely does the issue of impeachment come up,” she said. “The issues that are coming up here in New Hampshire especially are issues like the opioid crisis that is still devastating so many families.”

She also cited education, national security, health care, immigration and the economy as issues surfacing on the campaign trail.

Ms. Gabbard drew the ire of some fellow Democrats when she voted “present” on the two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump last month.

Democrats are accusing the president of improperly withholding military aid to Ukraine unless the country’s leaders agreed to announce politically beneficial investigations, including into potential 2020 presidential rival Joseph R. Biden.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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