Trump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE lashed out at the Democratic Party and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Harris rips Gabbard over Fox appearances during Obama years Steyer, Gabbard and Yang shut out of early minutes of Democratic debate MORE on Saturday, quipping that Democrats "need a Green Party more than ever" after Clinton suggested that the third party's 2016 candidate for president was a "Russian asset."

In a tweet, the president weighed in on the ongoing controversy sparked by Clinton on Friday when she suggested that Stein was working on behalf of Russia or to aid Russian election interference efforts during her 2016 run for president. Stein has been blamed for winning votes that otherwise could have been won by Clinton.

"Crooked Hillary Clinton just called the respected environmentalist and Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, a 'Russian Asset.' They need a Green Party more than ever after looking at the Democrats disastrous environmental program!" Trump tweeted.

Despite agreement from some Democrats on Friday, Clinton sparked controversy when she suggested that Stein was a "Russian asset" and added that Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Gabbard, Buttigieg battle over use of military in Mexico MORE (D-Hawaii), a 2020 candidate for president, was being "groomed" by Russia to run as a third-party candidate.

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In his tweet, Trump referred to Stein as a "respected environmentalist," words of praise that come despite Stein's own frequent criticism of the president and his administration.

Most recently, Stein attacked Trump in August for "gutting" the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with new rules that critics said severely weakened the act's protections.  

He returned to the attack later Saturday, slamming Clinton for suggesting both Stein and Gabbard were "Russian asset[s]".

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"So now Crooked Hillary is at it again! She is calling Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard “a Russian favorite,” and Jill Stein “a Russian asset.” As you may have heard, I was called a big Russia lover also (actually, I do like Russian people. I like all people!). Hillary’s gone Crazy!" he tweeted Saturday night.