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

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE (D-Hawaii) is fundraising off her feud with former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell The Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight Powell death leads to bipartisan outpouring of grief 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 TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE, to whom she lost in the 2016 election.

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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.

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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.