The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, reads in part:
Tulsi Gabbard is running for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain. In October 2019 — whether out of personal animus, political enmity, or fear of real change within a political party Clinton and her allies have long dominated — Clinton lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard. She did so publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent . . .
Tulsi is not a Russian asset. No one — Russia or anyone else — controls her or her presidential campaign. Instead, Tulsi is a loyal American servant, declaring her allegiance to the United States of America both as a soldier and as a member of Congress.
Gabbard's lawyers said in a statement:
"Tulsi Gabbard is a loyal American civil servant who has also dedicated her life to protecting the safety of all Americans. Rep. Gabbard's presidential campaign continues to gain momentum, but she has seen her political and personal reputation smeared and her candidacy intentionally damaged by Clinton's malicious and demonstrably false remarks."
Clinton made the remarks about Gabbard on a podcast in October, saying:
"They're also going to do third-party. I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on somebody who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians, they have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she's also a Russian asset. Yeah, she's a Russian asset, I mean totally. They know they can't win without a third-party candidate."
Asked to clarify the comment the next day, Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill doubled down, telling reporters:
"If the nesting doll fits. This is not some outlandish claim. This is reality."
Gabbard is suing for an unspecified monetary amount.