Gabbard lawyers demand retraction of Clinton's 'defamation'

Lawyers representing 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) on Monday called on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders Alan Dershowitz: Argument president cannot be impeached for abusing power a 'strong one' MORE to retract her comments alleging that the 2020 presidential candidate was a favorite candidate of the Russians, accusing the 2016 Democratic nominee of defamation. 

"Your statement is defamatory, and we demand that you retract it immediately," Gabbard's lawyer wrote in a letter, demanding that Clinton verbally retract the comments and post the retraction on Twitter.

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Clinton's spokesman declined to comment on the letter. 

Clinton made the remarks last month on the "Campaign HQ" podcast. 

“She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her, so far,” Clinton said, without referring to Gabbard by name. 

Clinton also said "they" are grooming Gabbard to run as a third-party candidate against the eventual Democratic nominee. 

A Clinton spokesman later said the former secretary of State had been referring to Republicans with the grooming comment. 

"It appears you may now be claiming that this statement is about Republicans (not Russians) grooming Gabbard," Gabbard's lawyer wrote in the letter. "But this makes no sense in light of what you actually said. After you made the statement linking Congresswoman Gabbard to the Russians, you (through your spokesman) doubled down on it with the Russian nesting dolls remark."

Gabbard has consistently denied she is interested in a third-party White House bid.

The congresswoman has faced repeated criticism for some of her foreign policy views, particularly about American military involvement in Syria.