Jill Stein: 'I am not a Russian spy'

Former 2016 Green Party presidential Jill Stein pushed back forcefully against former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts MORE's suggestion that Stein and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardPoll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Gabbard defeats man in push-up contest at New Hampshire town hall Gabbard on personal meeting with Sanders: 'He showed me the greatest respect' MORE (D-Hawaii) are Russian assets Saturday on CNN.

"I am not a Russian spy," Stein said on CNN's "Smerconish."
 
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Stein continued, "I think this is a completely unhinged conspiracy theory for which there is absolutely no basis in fact, not for myself and not for Tulsi Gabbard. I think it's really outrageous that Hillary Clinton is trying to promote this crazy idea."
 
On a podcast Thursday, Clinton called Stein a "Russian asset." The former first lady and New York Senator also said that one of the 2020 Democratic candidates was the "favorite of the Russians” to win the 2020 election.
 
While Clinton never mentioned Gabbard by name, it was clear that she was referring to the Hawaii congresswoman, who has been repeatedly accused of having ties to the Russian government.
 
Later in the interview, Stein went on the offensive herself, saying that Clinton's comments show "Hillary's need to try to explain, perhaps to herself, why her campaign was not successful."
 
"People really wanted change and unfortunately believed Donald Trump's lies that he was going to bring change," Stein added.
 
Stein received nearly 1.5 million votes in the 2016 election, but according to a slew of congressional reports, Russia's election meddling contributed to that total, CNN noted.
 
Per CNN, a Senate Intelligence Committee report showed that social media support of Stein was part of Russia's interference strategy.
 
Stein traveled to Russia in 2015 and attended a dinner hosted by RT, a Russian television network, and was photographed at the same table as Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinDOJ releases new tranche of Mueller witness documents Russia's shakeup has implications for Putin, Medvedev and the US The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week MORE.
 
When asked about the dinner by CNN, Stein firmly denied that she had spoken with Putin, countering with the assertion that there are "many more pictures of Hillary Clinton having intimate conversations with Putin whispering in her ear."
 
 
"Crooked Hillary Clinton just called the respected environmentalist and Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, a 'Russian Asset,'" Trump tweeted.
 
"They need a Green Party more than ever after looking at the Democrats disastrous environmental program!"