Former Democratic Rep. Gabbard had a very friendly, albeit dishonest, chat with Fox News host Pete Hegseth this week in which the two of them pretended that the indictment of lawyer Michael Sussman proved that the whole Russiagate matter was a hoax. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t.) Gabbard was there to help the Fox lie by falsely suggesting that Hillary Clinton's 2019 suggestion that she's a Russian asset was part of a big plot.
You’d think veteran Gabbard, who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, would find war-criminal advocate Hegseth repugnant. But the chance to bash her nemesis Clinton and whitewash her own record on Russia must have trumped (pun intended) any reluctance about sucking up to him.
In his introduction, Hegseth referred to Clinton as “crooked Hillary,” even though he didn’t site a single crime she supposedly committed, nor has she been charged with one. But he used the Sussman indictment to claim that the indictment proves “the only one using Russia to take down American politicians is Hillary,” then rhetorically asked, “Doesn’t that make Hillary Clinton an asset of the Kremlin, instead?”
Hegseth’s first question to Gabbard was whether the “new revelations confirm what you already knew or all along did you know they were making this up to smear political opponents?” Of course, Gabbard said she knew all along. But she added some self-serving drama to the story by blaming Clinton, “the powerful elite,” the “deep state” and the media for “colluding to destroy outsiders who they deem as posing a threat to their power,” i.e. outsiders like herself and Donald Trump.
Gabbard added that the powerful cabal creates a “dictatorship” to “silence and censor” people like herself “who put country first” and “are not afraid to challenge the establishment.”
“This is much bigger than any individual,” Gabbard claimed. “It actually undermines our country, our democracy and damages and hurts the interests of the American people … and the worst part, Pete, is they get away with it.”
The only ones getting away with anything here were Gabbard and Hegseth. Neither of them told viewers about Gabbard’s palsy relationship with the Kremlin. As Politico reported shortly after Clinton made her comments, “Gabbard has since been favorably covered by Russian propaganda outlets and is widely seen as the right’s favorite Democratic candidate. She also hired an adviser with Kremlin links.” Russia expert Bill Browder told Politico he didn’t think it was a coincidence that she hired such an adviser, especially when Gabbard’s policies closely match Putin’s.
Hegseth helped spread more disinformation when he asked whether she was given “a fair opportunity to actually respond” to Clinton’s suggestion. Gabbard dishonestly replied, “I’m smiling a little bit, Pete, because you and I both know the answer to that is no.”
Actually, Gabbard got a platform on Tucker Carlson’s show, the highest rated show on Fox News, and squandered the opportunity to deny the allegation. When Carlson asked if she is “a Russian sleeper cell,” Gabbard never said she wasn’t. Instead, she dodged and evaded the subject by attacking Clinton, just as she once did on Twitter and just as she did here. Gabbard also had the opportunity to respond when she wrote an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal on the subject. The article is behind a paywall so I can’t see what she wrote but The Washington Post Fact Checker gave her three Pinocchios for misquoting Clinton.
It’s very unlikely Clinton had anything to do with Gabbard’s failure as a 2020 presidential candidate either. As The Guardian pointed out, she was polling at a mere 2.3% at the time Clinton made her remarks.
Queerty noted that likening herself to Donald Trump on Fox News doesn’t look like the smartest way to win Democratic support. But hey, it might work wonders with the Russians.