Clarifications and corrections: The Associated Press corrected an Oct. 18 story, used by USA TODAY, about Tulsi Gabbard and Hillary Clinton, which reported erroneously that Hillary Clinton said she believes the Russians have “got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and grooming her to be the third-party candidate.” She was referring to Republicans, not Russians, according to an aide. This story has been updated to reflect that correction.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has added his name to the list of lawmakers defending fellow 2020 presidential candidate, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, after 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton suggested she was a "favorite" of the Russian government..
"Tulsi Gabbard has put her life on the line to defend this country," Sanders said in a tweet Monday. "People can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset."
Gabbard has seen an outpouring of support from both sides of the political aisle after Clinton made her remarks on a podcast last week. Though Clinton did not use Gabbard's name, the comments appeared to be directed at the veteran. She said she believes Republicans are "grooming" Gabbard.
“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who’s currently in the Democratic primary and they’re grooming her to be the third-party candidate," Clinton said. "She's the favorite of the Russians."
Gabbard responded to the former secretary of state on Twitter, accusing Clinton of being behind an effort to tarnish her campaign and reputation.
"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," Gabbard tweeted.
Gabbard brought up her endorsement of Sanders during the 2016 Democratic primary, which came after she quit as the vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
"They said Clinton will never forget. That she and her rich and powerful friends, her allies in politics and the media will make sure you’re destroyed," Gabbard said.
Clinton also called President Donald Trump "Vladimir Putin's dream" and referred to 2016 Green Party opponent Jill Stein as a "Russian asset." Stein received about 1% of the vote in 2016.
Trump, too, defended Gabbard on Monday. "She’s accusing everyone of being a Russian agent," the president said. "I don’t know Tulsi, but she’s not a Russian agent."
So now Crooked Hillary is at it again! She is calling Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard “a Russian favorite,” and Jill Stein “a Russian asset.” As you may have heard, I was called a big Russia lover also (actually, I do like Russian people. I like all people!). Hillary’s gone Crazy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019
Several 2020 Democratic candidates, including author Marianne Williamson, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
"Tulsi is not being groomed by anyone. She is her own person," O'Rourke said. "Obviously has served this country, continues to serve this country in uniform, in Congress, as a candidate for presidency so I think those facts speak for themselves."
Recognizing their "very different views," South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that he doesn't know what the basis is for the accusation against Gabbard.
"I'd prefer to have the conversation be about policy," Buttigieg said of attacks on his opponents, speaking to CNN.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bernie Sanders slams Hillary Clinton claim Tulsi Gabbard Russian asset