Former Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) on Wednesday dropped her defamation suit against former Secretary of State and onetime Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Reuters reported.
Gabbard filed the suit in federal court against the Democratic powerbroker in January seeking at least $50 million for remarks Clinton made saying the congresswoman was a "favorite" of Moscow who was being "groomed" by the Kremlin, and reportedly implying that she is a "Russian asset."
Gabbard and her campaign filed a notice of dismissal, Reuters said, saying they "remain certain of the action's legal merit" but they wanted to focus on the current coronavirus pandemic and "defeating Donald Trump in 2020, rather than righting the wrongs here."
What was the suit about?
The lawsuit claimed that Clinton "carelessly and recklessly impugned" Gabbard's reputation during an October podcast interview
The lawsuit began:
Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain. In October 2019—whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated—Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent. Tulsi has been harmed by Clinton's lies—and American democracy has suffered as well. With this action, Tulsi seeks to hold Clinton, and the political elites who enable her, accountable for distorting the truth in the middle of a critical Presidential election.
"[I]n October 2019, she sought retribution by lying, publicly and loudly, about Tulsi Gabbard," the suit continued. "Specifically, in widely disseminated national comments, Clinton falsely stated that Tulsi — an Army National Guard officer and United States Congresswoman who has spent her entire adult life serving this country — is a 'Russian asset.' Clinton's false assertions were made in a deliberate attempt to derail Tulsi's presidential campaign."
The interview in question was one Clinton gave on the "Campaign HQ" podcast with host Davie Plouffe. During it, she indicated that Moscow was "grooming" Gabbard for a spoiler campaign.
"They're also going to do third-party again," Clinton told Plouffe. "I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on someone who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far."
Asked if she was referring to Gabbard, Clinton responded, "If the nesting doll fits."
What about Jill Stein?
Clinton added that the attempt to get a Democrat to run third party would happen only if the Russians didn't use 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein to accomplish the same thing.
"And that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she's also a Russian asset," Clinton said. "Yeah, she's a Russian asset — I mean, totally. They know they can't win without a third-party candidate. So I don't know who it's going to be, but I will guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most needed."
Team Clinton called the suit "ridiculous."
And now it is suddenly gone.