Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images; Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu

2020 Democratic contender Tulsi Gabbard filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Hillary Clinton for defamation over the former secretary of state's implication that the Hawaii congresswoman is a "favorite of the Russians" during an October interview.

The big picture: In the suit, Gabbard claims that her "political and personal reputation" was damaged by the comment and that it caused her to drop in the polls in key primary states.

Background: On David Plouffe's podcast "Campaign HQ" in October, Clinton predicted that one candidate was being groomed by Russia to run as a third-party candidate, saying they're "the favorite" of the country and an "asset." However, Clinton never explicitly mentioned Gabbard by name.

  • 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.

What they're saying: "One would expect someone of Mrs. Clinton's political background to act with a greater level of maturity and dignity, but her personal hostility toward Rep. Gabbard apparently clouded Mrs. Clinton's reason and blinded her to U.S. defamation laws," Brian Dunne, Gabbard's lawyer, said in a statement per ABC News.

Read the complaint:

Go deeper: Trump attacks Clinton on "Hannity," defends Tulsi Gabbard

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 11,863,477 — Total deaths: 544,949 — Total recoveries — 6,483,402Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 2,996,679 — Total deaths: 131,486 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
  3. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.
Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Harvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes

A Harvard Law School graduate on campus before attending an online graduation ceremony on May 28. Photo: Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Harvard and MIT on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to block federal guidance that would largely bar foreign college students from taking classes if their universities move classes entirely online in the fall.

The big picture: Colleges, which often rely heavily on tuition from international students, face a unique challenge to safely get students back to class during the coronavirus pandemic. Some elite institutions, like Harvard, have already made the decision to go virtual.

Facebook auditors say it's failing on civil rights

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The findings from a new civil rights audit commissioned and released by Facebook show that the tech giant repeatedly failed to address issues of hatred, bigotry and manipulation on its platform.

Why it matters: The report comes as Facebook confronts a growing advertiser boycott and criticism for prioritizing freedom of speech over limiting misinformation and protecting users targeted by hate speech.