Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) is speaking out against Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is being positioned by Russia for a third-party run, warning the implication plays into President Donald Trump’s hands.
“The thing we know for sure is that Hillary Clinton is a Donald Trump asset,” Amash tweeted early Saturday. “Hillary does — and did — drive many people into the arms of Donald Trump. Her attack on Tulsi does likewise.”
Amash, fed up with party politics and disillusioned by Trump’s impact on the GOP, left the party in July, declaring himself an independent.
Controversy has brewed over Clinton’s remarks since the Friday release of a “Campaign HQ” podcast interview in which she asserted without evidence that “somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary” is being groomed “to be the third-party candidate.”
Though the remarks were widely interpreted as referring to Russia, Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill denied that interpretation on Friday, arguing she was instead referring to Republicans.
While Clinton did not name Gabbard, the candidate complained on the Ohio debate stage earlier this week about a New York Times article reporting that Russian state media has focused significant attention on her White House bid. Gabbard also appeared to lash out against CNN analyst Bakari Sellers, who recently claimed ― again, without evidence ― that she “is a puppet for the Russian government.”
Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, later seemed to use that same message in her interview.
“She’s the favorite of the Russians,” she said. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and ways of supporting her so far. And that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she’s also a Russian asset.”
Both Stein and Gabbard vociferously rebuked Clinton’s comments.
“It’s a shame HRC is peddling conspiracy theories to justify her failure instead of reflecting on real reasons Dems lost in 2016,” Stein tweeted Friday.
Russian bots aggressively promoted Stein’s candidacy in the lead-up to the 2016 election, and she was famously photographed sitting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner in 2015.
Stein’s condemnation was soon followed by a spate of tweets from Gabbard, who slammed Clinton as “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long,” employing lines that have been used by Trump.
CLARIFICATION: This article has been amended to note that Clinton’s spokesperson argued she was referring Republicans, not Russia in part of her remarks.