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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

2 hours ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspended the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, undersecretary for political affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. chargés d'affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and nonessential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten the embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).