Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset'

Sanders: 'Outrageous' to suggest Gabbard 'is a foreign asset'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed flight Neil Young opposes use of his music at Trump Mt Rushmore event: 'I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux' Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left MORE (I-Vt.) lashed out Monday at critics of fellow 2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFinancial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE (D-Hawaii) including Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCan Republicans handle the aftermath of Donald Trump? Biden seeks to supplant Trump in Georgia Hillary Clinton: 'I would have done a better job' handling coronavirus MORE, after Clinton and others suggested that Gabbard is a "foreign asset" for Russia amid reports that Moscow's online bots and trolls are supporting her campaign.

In a tweet, the Vermont senator and runner-up for the 2016 Democratic nomination called such accusations "outrageous," pointing to Gabbard's background as a military veteran.

Sanders's comments come after Clinton said during a podcast on Thursday that she believes Moscow is "grooming" a candidate, clearly referring to Gabbard, to run as a third-party candidate and split the Democratic vote in 2020.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate," Clinton said.

Asked later by reporters if Clinton was referring to Gabbard, her spokesman responded: "If the nesting doll fits."

Gabbard later responded with her own fiery tweets, accusing Clinton of being corrupt and attempting to exert control over the Democratic Party.

"Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain," the Hawaii congresswoman tweeted.

"From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose," she added.

"It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me," Gabbard also challenged Clinton. "Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly."

Other 2020 Democratic candidates, including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights Democrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE and businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangHillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night Clinton, Buttigieg among Democrats set to hold virtual events for Biden MORE, have voiced support for Gabbard following Clinton's attacks.