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Hillary Clinton at a memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton said on David Plouffe's podcast "Campaign HQ" this week that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is Russia's "favorite" 2020 candidate and said the country could be "grooming" her to become a third-party candidate.

"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. She's the favorite of the Russians."

What's new: Gabbard responded to Clinton on Friday, calling her the "queen of warmongers" in a tweet:

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

The big picture: Gabbard's foreign policy stances significantly differ from other top Democratic candidates, especially on Syria. She has controversially defended Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, and met with him on a secret trip to Syria in 2017.

  • The New York Times reported that alt-right internet stars, white nationalists and Russians have praised her campaign.
  • CNN analyst Bakari Sellers called Gabbard a "puppet for the Russian government." He said, "That's not just an allegation. I firmly believe that Tulsi Gabbard stands on that stage and is the antithesis to what the other 11 individuals stand for — specially when it comes to issues such as foreign policy."
  • At this week's Democratic debate, Gabbard condemned news outlets like the the Times and CNN, saying it was "completely despicable" to call her an asset to Russia.

What else Clinton said: She told Plouffe that Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for president in 2012 and 2016, is a "Russian asset — I mean, totally."

  • And she said that President Trump is Russian President "Vladimir Putin's dream," implying that she believes that Russia has some sort of leverage on the president. "I don't know what Putin has on him — whether it's both personal and financial. I assume it is."

Go deeper: Tulsi Gabbard on the issues, in under 500 words

Go deeper

Educators face fines, harassment over critical race theory

People talk before the start of a rally against critical race theory being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Va. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Elementary school teachers, administrators and college professors are facing fines, physical threats, and fear of firing because of an organized push from the right to remove classroom discussions of systemic racism.

Why it matters: Moves to ban critical race theory are raising free speech concerns amid an absence of consistent parameters about what teachings are in or out of bounds.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

1 dead after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

Police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing a man and leaving another person hospitalized Saturday, authorities said.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told reporters police had "apprehended the driver" and that the vehicle missed a parade car carrying Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) "by inches."

Updated 9 hours ago - Sports

Uganda Olympic team member tests positive for COVID in Tokyo

The Uganda National boxing team's Catherine Nanziri (L) and others arrive for check-in at Entebbe international airport in Wakiso, Uganda on Friday, ahead of their departure to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Badru Katumba/AFP via Getty Images

A Uganda Olympic team member tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan late Saturday, officials said.

Why it matters: Japan's government has faced criticism for vowing to host the Tokyo Games next month as coronavirus cases rise. The Ugandan team is the second to arrive in Japan after the Australian women's softball players, and this is the first COVID-19 infection detected among the Olympic athletes, Al Jazeera notes.