06:49 GMT10 July 2020
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    Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard has threatened former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a lawsuit if she doesn’t retract “defamatory” claims that Gabbard is a “Russian asset.” However, one journalist noted that while attacking Clinton’s record is a strong strategy, trying to turn a political fight into a legal one isn’t.

    “I think this ended up helping Tulsi and gave her a political boost. I don’t think the lawyers are a good idea, frankly,” Jim Kavanagh, editor of The Polemicist, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear Tuesday.

    “I think when you start bringing the lawyers in - well, she could demand a retraction herself,” Kavanagh said, noting that the campaign was mixing up a political fight and a legal one.

    Lawyers for the 2020 presidential candidate on Monday issued a letter to the former state secretary, whose bid for the presidency failed in 2016 amid Donald Trump’s victory, demanding that the Chicago-born politician issue a retraction over remarks she’d made on David Plouffe’s podcast, “Campaign HQ.”

    “Your statement is defamatory, and we demand that you retract it immediately. The statement is false. Congresswoman Gabbard is not being groomed by Russia to be a third-party candidate. Nor is she a Russian asset,” reads a letter sent by Gabbard’s lawyers. “Rather, she is a patriotic loyal American, a sitting four-term United States Congresswoman and a Major in the United States Army National Guard.”

    Clinton’s October 18 remarks attempted to portray Gabbard as a Manchurian Candidate for her anti-war policies and harsh criticism of US overseas adventures, especially in Syria. When asked by CNN for clarification of Clinton’s remarks, spokesperson Nick Merrill gave the passive-aggressive reply, “if the nesting doll fits.”

    Gabbard soon fired back, labeling Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long” in a furious Twitter thread.

    A few days later, the Associated Press issued a retraction, claiming Clinton “was referring to Republicans, not Russians,” in her comments about Gabbard being groomed for an independent presidential bid. 

    However, the clarification has done little to ease tensions from Gabbard’s camp as the lawyers indicated in their letter to Clinton that the “Republicans-not-Russians spin” did not align with the remarks made during the interview.

    Kavangh went on to tell hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou that “Tulsi should fight the fight, and do what she was doing, and characterize correctly Clinton as a warmonger, and define her differences [from Clinton], which she’s been doing very strongly.”

    “What she should be doing now is going after Clinton - and all of the Democrats - over what’s happening in Bolivia, and what’s happening in Syria,” he continued. “Let’s double down on the attacks on imperialist aggressions and make people like Clinton answer those questions.”

    In a Wall Street Journal editorial published October 29, Gabbard highlighted how Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy approach was akin to former US President George W. Bush’s ethos.

    “Those who follow the Bush-Clinton doctrine believe the only way to interact with other nations is by bombing them or starving them with draconian sanctions,” she wrote, noting that on day one of her presidency, she would “immediately begin reversing the damage the Bush-Clinton doctrine has done to America and the world … Only when we recognize the failings of the past - embodied by Mrs. Clinton and her minions in the media - can we move forward to a future of peace, dignity, transparency and aloha.”

    “This is the Washington consensus. This is what started with [former US President] Bill Clinton attacking Yugoslavia: from now on, the arbiter of what’s right and wrong and what’s permitted to do in terms of warfare is the United States and its allies. We decide what the humanitarian interventions are going to be, and Hillary Clinton, during the Obama administration, pressed for attacking Libya, and her surrogates, [former national security adviser] Susan Rice and [former US Ambassador to the UN] Samantha Power, were pushing for the attack on Libya. And this whole paradigm of humanitarian intervention is the Clinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton” doctrine, Kavanagh said. “They are the architects of this, and Tulsi is the only one who’s going directly at that and not backing off for a second.”

    “This is the kind of thing we need to see. We need to see more - from someone like Bernie Sanders, we need to see more going directly at the people who have reactionary policies. Whether they’re domestic or international, but certainly on the international side, Tulsi has been - she’s the only one who’s been doing it,” he said.

    This isn’t Gabbard’s first campaign-centered lawsuit. In July, she filed a suit against Google seeking $50 million in compensation after her campaign’s advertising account was inexplicably locked in the hours after the first Democratic presidential primary debate on June 26-27, when she was the most-searched of any candidate in the debate.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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