Gabbard fundraises off Clinton attack: 'I challenge her' to 'face me directly'

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardButtigieg to attend MLK Day event in South Carolina after facing criticism Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Gabbard defeats man in push-up contest at New Hampshire town hall MORE (D-Hawaii) is fundraising off her feud with former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic debates are magnet for lobbyists NYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders MORE, asking supporters to donate to her presidential campaign and calling on Clinton to "face her directly" in the 2020 Democratic primary.

"Hillary Clinton accused Tulsi Gabbard — a combat veteran, soldier and Major in the Army National Guard — of being 'groomed' to be a 'Russian asset,'" reads a fundraising email sent by Gabbard's campaign on Saturday.

"Tulsi fights back and demands Hillary join the race and face her directly," it continues.

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Gabbard in the email said Clinton "finally came out from behind the curtain yesterday, accusing me of being a Russian asset" while asking supporters to pitch in $25 to her campaign.

"If this a fight she wants to have, one that has implications for all of us and the future of our democracy, then I challenge her to come out from behind her proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media, and face me directly," Gabbard added.

Clinton has repeatedly said that she is not running for president in 2020 but joked earlier this month that "maybe there does need to be a rematch" with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE, to whom she lost in the 2016 election.

The former Democratic presidential nominee on Friday suggested in a podcast interview that Gabbard, who is campaigning in the 2020 Democratic race, was being groomed by Russia to run as a third-party candidate.

The former secretary of State said the Russians already have their “eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” an apparent reference to Gabbard. 

“She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far,” Clinton added. 

Gabbard denied Clinton's suggestion later Friday, reiterating that she would not run as a third-party candidate.

In her email on Saturday, Gabbard accused Clinton of being behind "a campaign to destroy my reputation" while reiterating her comments from the previous day calling the former secretary of State "the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long."

"We must not let Hillary Clinton and her establishment allies silence the voice of the American people and quash all those who dare to offer a dissenting voice in response to our corrupt status quo," Gabbard said in the email.