Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton Over 'Russian Asset' Comments

The lawsuit might be good politics, but it's bad for free speech.

|

Dark horse presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) has filed an eyebrow-raising lawsuit against Hillary Clinton for defamation over comments the former Secretary of State made on a podcast suggesting that Gabbard was a Russian stooge.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York claims that Clinton's comments have damaged Gabbard and democracy itself.

"Clinton had no basis for making her false assertions about Tulsi—and indeed, there is no factual basis for Clinton's conspiracy theory," reads Gabbard's complaint. "Tulsi brings this lawsuit to ensure that the truth prevails and to ensure this country's political elites are held accountable for intentionally trying to distort the truth in the midst of a critical Presidential election."

In October 2019, Clinton appeared on the podcast Campaign HQ, where she, while not mentioning Gabbard by name, implied that the Hawaiian representative was being "groomed" by the Republicans to launch a disruptive third-party bid, something that would apparently delight the Russian government.

"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 [2016 Green Party candidate] Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she's also a Russian asset. Yeah, she's a Russian asset," said Clinton on the podcast.

When asked the following day if these comments were about Gabbard, a Clinton spokesperson said, "If the nesting doll fits."

In November, Gabbard sent a letter to Clinton threatening her with a defamation suit unless she retracted her comments. With no retraction forthcoming, Gabbard is making good on her threat.

Her lawsuit asks that Clinton be made to pay damages, and, incredibly, that the court issue an injunction prohibiting the "publication or republication" of Clinton's Russian asset comments.

This is not the first unconventional lawsuit filed by Gabbard during her presidential campaign. She also sued Google for violating her First Amendment rights after the company briefly suspending her Google Ads account following a July Democratic debate.

Obviously the First Amendment's free speech protections don't restrict the actions of private corporations. Gabbard's Google lawsuit, Reason's Billy Binion noted at the time, was more about capitalizing on anti-Big Tech animus than making substantive legal claims.

The presidential contender's lawsuit against Clinton similarly seems to be motivated by political considerations.

Gabbard has made opposition to U.S. interventionism—and the support it has among Clinton-style Democrats—the signature issue of her campaign. Her lawsuit gives her an opportunity to throw some spicy disses in that direction.

Gabbard, her lawsuit notes, is running for the same office that Clinton "has long coveted, but has not been able to attain." The 2016 Democratic nominee is also referred to as "a cutthroat politician by any account." (Tell us how you really feel, Tulsi!)

Ironically, for all the injury that she is claiming, Gabbard actually saw a poll bump after Clinton's remarks. That's because all publicity is good publicity when you are running a long shot campaign for president. Clinton's comments got Gabbard's name in the news, increasing her visibility to voters. The lawsuit seems like a calculated attempt to replicate that result.

Whether her lawsuit has any legal merit is something the courts will have to decide, a decision that will turn in part on whether Clinton was making a factual assertion, or if she was engaging in good old-fashioned political hyperbole.

Regardless of how the legal battle shakes out, one politician suing another over their rhetoric is not healthy. Democracy requires that people can say nasty, even untrue, things about their opponents and rivals without the fear of being dragged into court.

Should that become the norm, courts (not voters) will decide the acceptable parameters of political speech and debate.

NEXT: Forthcoming Article on "Overturning a Catch-22 in the Knick of Time: Knick v. Township of Scott and the Doctrine of Precedent"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Gabbard goes so far to insist she’s not a Russian asset, it actually strengthens the case she’s a Russian asset.

    Like when people loudly deny they’re racists, which only proves their racism.

    #GabbardRussia

    1. This actually has been 100% debunked.

      With zero evidence, she is being called a Russian asset- remember Democrats love to smear people.

      1. OBL is a parody account

        1. That sounds like a very serious matter–here at NYU, we are careful to discourage any sort of inappropriate “parody,” and when necessary, when the form and content of such “speech” has been egregious enough, we have not hesitated to call in the police to deal with criminal elements engaging in it. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

          https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

          1. But this happens to be the almost completely unmoderated comment section at a still mostly libertarian site, not a left-wing university racing towards outright Stalinism.

            1. It may be true, as you suggest, that the forum is flawed and defenseless; but that doesn’t justify allowing something as seriously harmful as “parody.” Perhaps they could engage Eugene Volokh to watch over the comments? I’m told he has removed ones that he finds irrelevant or otherwise objectionable from the “Volokh Consipiracy” section of the website.

  2. The defamation suit is one thing, but the prohibition on publishing the comments is something else altogether.

    Fuck her for that, courts don’t get to decide what the newspaper publishes.

    1. So if I punch you in the face, a court can’t tell me to stop doing it?

      1. You don’t see the difference between violence and speech?

        1. In this case they are the same. They are both torts. The lie is doing harm to someone and the courts have every right to tell you to stop it. You have a right to free speech. You don’t have a right to commit a tort.

          1. Then you would have to sue say the Washington Post and show they weren’t just discussing but an active participant. If the Post were to report this happened, that wouldn’t be enough but if a columnist came out and said Hillary was a 100% right and then made up a bunch of fake facts supporting it; you could then sue them. You still have get past the public person hurdle though.

            The court certainly doesn’t have the power to deny all people within the USA from even mentioning this factual occurrence happened. That is some European bullshit; the right to be forgotten.

          2. So if they’re the same, then I’d be justified in reacting violently to your slander?

            1. I’d actually be ok with experimenting with that, on the surface. See how many politicians want to label anyone who votes for their opponents as a racist when they can expect .308 as a rebuttal.

              See how many newspapers like the NY Times continue this “anonymous source” nonsense to cover their hit jobs.

              I know this that this would cause havoc with free speech, but honestly, the system we have now where you can slander anyone you want if you’re part of the liberal media is pretty broken.

              1. * Just to clarify, not saying this is an actual good or rational idea, just that what we have now is broken and needs to be fixed.

              2. This is how Antifa gets away with what they do, by equating speech with violence. That some speech is so vile that it warrants chucking bike locks at people or sucker punching them.

                I get that biased media is frustrating, but the cure is worse than the disease.

                1. Maybe, maybe not.
                  Might actually get a handle on this “speech is violence” bs if both sides started playing such a game, instead of allowing one side to do so with impunity

                2. “Improper pronoun use is violence”!

                  I read that somewhere.

                3. No, antifa gets away with what they do because the local government covers for them while going after the opposition.

                  But yes, the cure most likely would be worse than the disease in this case

          3. No, they are not the same. Under the ‘prior restraint’ doctrine, the lie is only a tort if you repeatedly make it after a court has fully and finally determined that that specific statement was a defamation. Courts can, however, tell you preemptively to not hit someone. That’s why, for example, you can get a restraining order for physical acts but not for speech.

            1. Fair point. I don’t think they have a right to do that before a court has determined it is slander. That said, Gabbard has every right to bring suit against them later if she wins here and it is determined to be slander.

              1. Not so sure. They would have to repeat it (and not merely as a quote in the context of reporting about it) after the court determination of slander. She will not be able to go back and allege violations for repetitions that happened before the determination.

      2. Yes it can, but it can’t stop me from discussing or showing video of you repeatedly punching Mike in the face.

        1. Precisely, I’m not saying whether or not defamation has occurred or what remedies should be available if it has. All I’m saying is the court has no business telling the media “You can’t report that Hillary said a thing”.

          All the media is doing is reporting on what Hillary said, if she said something defamatory that’s between her, Tulsi and the legal system. Leave the media out of the court proceedings, they haven’t done anything wrong in this case.

          1. At some point the reporting becomes repetition that can do additional harm. I’m not arguing for prior restraint, but I am saying that claiming to be ‘news’ does not automatically protect you from suit for damages.

            1. I agree, they eventually cross a line. However, if their reporting is essentially “Hillary Clinton is quoted as saying X” I don’t see how they’ve crossed a line.

              Is that what the media is doing? Not in all cases, but I think you have to let them actually commit defamation before you take any action against them. A general injunction against quoting what Hillary said kills both legitimate discourse and defamation at the same time, and I don’t think that eliminating the latter is worth losing the former.

              1. +1 Gabbard seeking such action is only further evidence that she is not remotely fit for public office.

                1. Absolutely, it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of what free speech is, and also a remarkably thin skin.

                  I’d admire a candidate who didn’t react with a lawsuit and instead laughed the comments off and told that old cunt to fuck off to the retirement home.

                2. If she were fit for public office, she’d be a rounding error away from zero in the polls. Democrats have come to have an awfully twisted conception of what makes you fit for public office.

          2. Then, Hillary and the media that support her will lose credibility in the long haul.

            I am OK with that.

            I am aware of the nuance that media reporting Hillary said that is not the same as media supporting the assertion itself. However, the optics are clear to those who see.

            95% of our media self identify as Democrat National Machine Party.

    2. Agreed.

  3. Indeed…….. a well disciplined Russian asset.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S06nIz4scvI

  4. If she wins, where does Trump start?

    1. It’s always been Tulsi’s turn!

  5. Eating their own.

  6. they’ll settle at mediation.

      1. Hillary’s snuke has the advantage.

  7. The lawsuit is ridiculous, but it is entertaining to see the Dems feasting on each other’s still-warm political corpses. (Yeah, and I find it equally so when the Repubs do the same.)

    1. It is not a ridiculous lawsuit. Clinton accused her of being a traitor. Why is it ridiculous to sue someone over that? How is Gabbard supposed to clear her name?

      1. battery.

      2. Bring back dueling

        1. even better. give H a fair shot.

        2. The thought of those two stripped to the waist and holding sabers is simultaneously enticing and nauseating.

          1. Sabre was my nickname in Paleontology Club

      3. It isn’t defamation if no one believes it. And at this point, Hilary has as much credibility as Trump’s tweets.

        1. I hope you are right,

          I am not betting on it.

      4. Because Gabbard is a very, very, PUBLIC individual. If I accused Trump of colluding with the Russians, I could not be sued for “defamation.”

        1. You could if you knew it wasn’t true or did it with a reckless disregard to it being true. Hillary is going to have to show she had some reason to think this was true or she will lose

        2. Actually, there is a way. “Actual Malice”. If you explicitly know or should have known that the claim is false. This is an almost impossible barrier of evidence, which leads people to say that you can’t defame a public figure.

          In this case, however, that’s not clear cut. Clinton explicitly said that she was working for the Russians, with her campaign manager adding “if the nesting doll fits”. It’s an unambiguous claim of fact. Being accused of treason is defamation per-se. While she claims damages, none are actually required. Finally, there is no evidence whatsoever for it (It seems made up on the spot). While it’s nearly impossible to prove that Clinton KNEW it is a lie, I think that it’s actually quite reasonable to argue that she should have known it was a lie.

      5. what Albert said. She’s a public individual, which means she’s gonna have to jump an incredibly high bar to prove her case. Like, “Hillary is stupid enough to write her master plan down and Gabbard managed to get a hold of it” levels. She also has to prove that she’s been negatively affected. And that’s not even talking about the ins & outs of the lawsuit, like trying to get the media to not report news. Do I like Gabbard? Not really. Do I agree with Clinton that she’s a rusky spy? HAHAHAHAHA no. Do I think this is the hill she should be dying on? Nope, not in the slightest. She’s not gonna get the presidency, but if she didn’t pull this infighting stuff, she might have managed to work out a deal with some of the other candidates to serve in a position in their administration if they won.

        1. She should be working on a deal with Trump to get a spot in his cabinet, and cozying up to Hailey for future rivalry

        2. “but if she didn’t pull this infighting stuff, she might have managed to work out a deal with some of the other candidates to serve in a position in their administration if they won”

          Other Democrats despise Tulsi Gabbard. Probably something to do with her back-stabbing, or her record of bigotry, or her demonstrated clinger-curious nature. She neither deserves nor will receive any courtesies from Democrats. Fox may hire her to bash Democrats for the slack-jawed audience, though.

      6. Challenge her to a vodka drinking game followed by an apple pie eating contest.

        All Tulsi proves with a lawsuit like this is that she’s just another snowflake milennial

  8. It is great for free speech. Free speech should not be a licence to lie anymore than the right to bear arms should be a license to shoot people. If you slander someone, you should have to pay the damage your speech does. To say otherwise is to deny the responsibility that necessarily comes with freedom.

    1. Disaffected, inconsequential clingers are among my favorite faux libertarians.

      1. Everyone knows you don’t understand the concepts being discussed her. You are dumb as a post. Why do you feel the need to remind everyone of something they already know?

        I am the only person on here who is willing to tell you that you have a problem. Why don’t you listen?

        1. Open wider, John. I am going to begin to enjoy watching you swallow obsequiously as your betters shove progress down your bigoted, vanquished throat.

          1. Reverend, I think you need a visit from your alter egos…. 🙂

          2. You need to look into getting on some meds. Being stupid makes life hard enough. You don’t need the other challenges you appear to have.

            1. The rev is parody. He comes to a libertarian site to exaggerate the truly ugly, authoritarian hostility of progs. Probably working for trump/2020.

              Of course I could be wrong. Maybe he really is a very (self) important general fighting a culture war that no one cares about. Haha. That’s kinda funny. And sad.

              1. He was a basement dweller at the Washington Post who followed Volokh to Reason and now we can’t make him leave.

                Pretty sure that he genuinely believes what he writes.

                1. I observed Arthur Kirkland when Volokh Conspiracy was an independent website. Before WaPo. Before Reason.

                  Since the loss of Hillary, the win of Trump, he has gone bonkers.

        2. Don’t bother. I haven’t argued against anyone like him since I stopped interacting with the Flat Earth Society.

    2. If you slander someone, you should have to pay the damage your speech does. To say otherwise is to deny the responsibility that necessarily comes with freedom.

      Precisely.

      Crooked Hillary said what she said. Nobody forced her to. She chose to. The accusation of being a Russian stooge would be especially vile to any serviceman/servicewoman. Are you kidding me?

      1. “Democracy requires that people can say nasty, even untrue, things about their opponents and rivals without the fear of being dragged into court.”

        Modern “journalism”. Christian is worried that a requirement for honesty might spill over into the news world.

        1. The quote has to be one of the categorically stupider sentences ever written.

      2. The highest bar to any judgement in favor of Gabbard is:

        Who in the wide world of sports believes a single thing Hillary says?????

        That’s the real problem here – convincing a jury that anyone ever believe Hillary, only then could there be the potential for damages.

        Suing Hillary is no threat to free speech. It is a possible threat to dishonest speech.

        1. That would reduce her damages but would not prevent her from winning a judgement.

          1. Could it prevent her from properly spelling judgment?

    3. Horseshit. Tulsi is or was running for Prez.

      A defamation lawsuit gets her precisely zero votes but says a lot about how thin-skinned and easily distracted Tulsi is

      She could have easily used this opportunity to stay on message. Drag that warmongering bitch back into the arena to prove how often and exactly how warmongerers lie to get us into stupid ill-thought out wars. How they lie and defame people who even question our foreign policy and have for decades. How there is an alternative foreign policy vision that has fucking nothing to do with Russia whatsoever. Course that last one may be a problem if Tulsi has no actual vision but is just bitching about a status quo.

      If the warbitch’s orbit of Dems proves that there is no audience of non-interventionist primary-voting Dems left, then that too is useful info. Stop being such a DeRp and get the fuck out and bring an entire generation out of DeRp. Amash found the R’s are exactly as hypocritical and bullshit about issues they lie about.

      Unfortunately both Amash and Tulsi have the same fatal flaw of millennials. The immature notion that the older generation is not really out to kill and enslave the younger generation. I’ll say this for Nam-era boomers. They understood very early that in fact the older generation was out to kill them. Sharpened the focus and will of opposition. Now that the boomers are the aggressors, time for the millennials to sharpen the stick and stand opposed. It is generational war. At least until it’s time for an avocado sandwich and some texting.

      1. On the contrary, several people have said that it’s good to see a Democrat standing up for themselves, especially to someone as powerful as Clinton. Given that Gabbard is trying to draw Republican votes away from Trump, a display of strength of will is actually a good tactic.

    4. well, if your going to use the comparison to Gun Rights, someone could say that just like if someone tries to shoot you, you have the right to fire back, and if someone calls falsely accuse you of being a Child Groomer you have every right to bring attention to a quote the other guy made like “Depends of the Child” on a stream

      1. What do diapers have to do with anything?

        1. It was a reference to an online drama between 2 E-Celebs, out of respect for the people involve I won’t say their real names and I will just refer to them as Sargon of Akkad and Mr. Metokur.

          Anyhow, Sargon had this online ego conflict with Metokur that lead to a Stream where he (falsely) accused Metokur of Child Grooming. Anyhow, in response Metokur and his fans came across an older stream where Sargon was talking to a guy who had sex with an adult while he was a child (Very Likely this Person was Groomed as a Child) however this guy keep saying how great it was and don’t get what’s the outrage about Child Sex, and in response Sargon said “Depends on the Child”. Metokur and his fans brought allot attention to that stream and the quote to the point that Sargon became everything from a Laughing Stock to Looking like a Creep to the point that he would tank any Political Party he joins.

          Sargon set out to smear Metokur as some kind of Pedophile but ended up himself looking like he’s Pro-Pedophilia, this is the perfect example of the Punishment fitting the Crime.

          Anyhow, in regards to Speech, it is true that Freedom of Speech isn’t Freedom from Consequences, however the Consequences should NOT be State Intervention

  9. This is what happens when the public sector claims a monopoly and outlaws private sector solutions.

    Defamation suits are a poor substitute for dueling.

    1. Ok, this is a duel – or cage match – I’d like to see

    2. SIV prefers dueling with attack cocks. Each attack cock has a fighting rooster mounted on it.

      1. You are so bad at life

    3. Two women enter – one woman leaves.
      Thunderdome rules.
      It is the law.

  10. Yeah, it was just a weird coincidence that Google suspended her account just as interest in her was trending. It is so unfortunate.

    So, should the concepts of slander, libel and defamation exist as enforceable legal concepts? Since that seems to be the thrust if this argument.

  11. Good politics?

    What’s the political future for ‘favorite “Democrat” of FreeRepublic, RedState, Stormfront, and Putin?

    If this isn’t an audition for a Fox News spot it is confirmation that Tulsi Gabbard is dumb even for a clinger.

    1. Her political future is very bright. At some point someone is going to have to pick up the pieces left by the toothless, ignorant rednecks after they are done destroying the party. Gabbard is in a very good position to do that.

      1. Predictions from a guy who figures bigoted, superstitious, half-educated clingers are going to win the culture war are always fascinating.

        1. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland
          January.22.2020 at 11:28 am
          “Predictions from a guy who figures bigoted, superstitious, half-educated clingers are going to win the culture war are always fascinating.”

          Opinions from an asshole bigot; amusing.

    2. Well said, Art.

      I mean, can you believe Gabbard actually called Hillary Clinton — literally the most qualified Presidential candidate ever — a “warmonger”? There’s absolutely no place in the liberal-libertarian mainstream for such talk.

      #StillWithHer

      1. Tulsi Gabbard can call Hillary Clinton a warmonger.

        She doesn’t get to censor those who note that she is a Russian stooge, a bigot, and a political loser.

        May the better ideas win. Of course, that’s easy for me to say, because my ideas have been winning for more than a half-century and are positioned to continue to win against the impotent wailing of clingers.

        1. “a political loser”

          Precisely.

          The Democratic Party needs fewer losers like Tulsi Gabbard and more winners like Hillary Clinton. Did you know she got more total votes than any white male candidate in history?

          1. Amazingly, I agree = The Democratic Party needs more winners like Hillary Clinton.

            Crooked Hillary sits at home, completely irrelevant and useless. Works for me. 🙂

            1. She must be one of those “bitter, disaffected clingers” I keep hearing about. Or is she a “better”?

              Oh, the fog of “war”!

              Haha.

          2. The Democratic Party needs no more Tulsi Gabbards. The clingers can have her and her stale, unpopular, disaffected positions. And her record as a superstitious bigot.

            If Tulsi Gabbard doesn’t leave the Democratic Party, I expect her to be thrown out.

      2. You’re right, Hilldawg is “literally the most qualified Presidential candidate ever”. We should chisel off Washington, Jefferson, TRoos, and Lincoln, then replace it with Hilldawg reclining in a pantsuit.

    3. You know more than Democrats get to vote in the general election right? Yes, she’s a candidate that has broad appeal to more than just tds dems; if tds dems were smart, they would see that as an asset. Funny how her women of color intersectional status means nothing to the woke left if she’s also willing to stand up to the military industrial complex. I really thought trump starting wwiii with iran would get the dems to give her a second chance, but turns out they love war even more than they hate trump. Who knew?

      1. Gabbard is far left on every single issue. The only thing that distinguishes her from the other Democratic candidates is her objection to US intervention. Because of that, Gabbard is hated.

        Given those facts, it is pretty obvious the woke left is the war party not the Republicans. And, given the fact that Trump’s objection to US intervention is one of the reasons the woke left hate him, certainly not Trump.

        1. ” The only thing that distinguishes her from the other Democratic candidates is her objection to US intervention.”

          She does not come off quite so spiteful, hateful, and haughty as the rest. So, not the only thing.

          1. You just like her because she is bigoted toward gays, you half-educated rube.

        2. Well that and hotness. Also she could probably beat any of them in an arm wrestling contest.

  12. Interesting. I’m curious where this could go.

    I do think it’s a good thing for Tulsi to call Clinton on her fantastic accusations of Russians spies in the highest levels of both Republican and Democratic parties. Russian spies everywhere!

    And to think, this paranoid sociopath was almost president…

    1. Gabbard was called a patsy for Russians, not a spy.

      Mostly because it appears she not only is a Russian stooge but indeed welcomes that status.

      1. Ok, Russian patsies everywhere.
        It’s as if I’m living in the deranged fantasies of a WW2 boomer and it’s the 50s again.
        Perhaps the finger pointing is meant to deflect from China, a much bigger foe as they hold so much of our debt and manufacturing capacity.

        1. Boomers were after ww2.

          1. Forget it, he’s rolling

      2. “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 because she’s also a Russian asset.”

        Nope. Didn’t say patsy.

        Literally called her a “Russian asset”… along with Jill Stein.

        Now, you could argue that she meant that she was a patsy for the Russians. But she called them “assets”, which usually connotes being a spy.

        1. A Russian asset is someone or something that assists the Russians.

          Tulsi Gabbard’s candidacy was favored by the Russians, who promoted her on social media. And by right-wing white supremacists, who raised money for her on Stormfront. That made her a Russian asset and a racist asset.

          My home is my asset regardless of whether it wishes to be, tries to be, or knows that it is my asset..

          1. That whole crowd likes Andrew Wang too. Oops, I guess he’s a white supremacist now. Too bad he’s not Japanese or else you could make an Axis Power reference! But alas, he’s merely a Chinese man, and so your dreams are dashed. Sorry, brah… ;(

  13. if she was Tulsi from the Block she wouldn’t receive 1A protection why should she get it simply for being a candidate?

    1. Apparently, in 2020 America being a democratic candidate means you can’t be investigated for corruption, why not test the legal theory that it also means you can’t be called names? Worth a shot!

      1. good point. aim high.

  14. This lawsuit might be damaging to free speech – depending on the outcome.

    But the ludicrous way that politicians are getting away with slandering others these days is much, much more damaging to our political system and freedom of speech. Clinton accusing Gabbard of being a Russian asset is small potatoes in this game.

    Clinton’s team and the Obama administration didn’t just call Trump a Russian asset…. they used the power of the government to attempt to frame him and his team as such. Something that we have recently learned was invented out of whole cloth by operatives in the FBI and “another agency” in order to justify spying on the Trump team. Well, not whole cloth. They got some scraps of cloth from the faked up “dossier” that Clinton and the DNC paid a former British spy to get from Russian spies.

    And I get that it is in vogue in the press these days to just pretend that none of that actually happened and skip on to the question of just how much was Trump working with the Russians before he obstructed the investigation and then moved on to getting the Ukrainians to smear Biden – but that sordid affair was a much more egregious and damaging threat to our political system and freedoms than some speech-stifling lawsuit over an obvious lie by Clinton.

    1. Reason cares more about protecting the media guild than the do about anything else. It will be a very bad day for the media if courts ever start holding people responsible for lying. That is why reason thinks this is “bad for free speech”.

      Saying people should be responsible for the damage caused by their lies is not bad for free speech. It is good for free speech and certainly good for political discourse.

      1. Matt Welch was on “The Fifth Column” the other day with some female reporter – maybe from the Times? I don’t remember. I only heard about 1/3 of the episode.

        Anyway, they were discussing the Bernie/Warren sexism nonsense and she got into it with Moynihan. She staked out the woke position that it doesn’t matter what Sanders intended. If Warren heard it as sexist, then it was sexist. Period.

        Moynihan obviously thought that was total BS, but was too afraid to directly engage this Woke tar baby. So he asked about the suggestion that he might have been opining that America wasn’t ready to vote for a female president, because they are so sexist.

        She cut him of, rather agitated it seemed. That’s sexist. Because he thinks that she has lived as a woman all this time and been a female politician all this time and she doesn’t know this? Simply stating this observation to a woman is sexist, because it assumes that women are too stupid to know this.

        Welch dutifully kept his mouth shut on the topic, even though he also obviously had serious disagreements with her position. Why? Because Woke doesn’t allow for debate on this topic. Woke says that the Woman has the lower status, and therefore is the only one that may speak on such things. So he shut the F up.

        Now, you tell me….. which has a greater chilling effect on free speech? Tulsi calling out Clinton in court? Or PC Woke Culture? Matt Welch and Michael Moynihan are not known for their lack of verbosity or aversion to pugilistic debate. But they both shut the hell up about something that was obviously horrifically and insultingly wrong, and directly relates to their most closely held beliefs about freedom and freedom of expression.

        So yeah, go ahead and argue that Tulsi calling out Clinton is the threat here.

        1. BTW, the “Woke tar baby” is the issue of a comment being sexist if anyone else thinks it is sexist, regardless of what was intended. Not the reporter. I think they said she was a blond.

          1. Woke tar baby feels racist. Pack a small bag for re-education camp. Check in with the Sanders staffer at the guard shack.

            1. Yeah…. it was a great metaphor….. too bad. I don’t think anything else really conveys the same meaning.

        2. People lose their jobs and their careers for saying there are two sexes. The PC culture is a direct assault on our freedom of speech and thought. But, Welch and company are too afraid to stand up to it.

        3. I listened to that same podcast yesterday and heard this exchange. It was worse than you say. The female reporter claimed that a comment is “sexist” if it is a statement that a woman “doesn’t need to hear from a man,” which could mean anything.

          1. Yes, she absolutely staked out this position. Anything a man says to a woman is sexist, because it assumes that she is to stupid (as a woman) to have known it herself.

            There were dozens of opportunities to pick her argument apart… but nobody dared touch that with a ten foot pole.

            i.e. If me telling you that other people might have sexist attitudes is sexist, because you interpreted it as sexist… is your comment that my statement was sexist actually sexist itself, since I take offense at your statement that I, as a man, cannot say that people have sexist views?

            Everything she was espousing was stupid and evil. But nobody dared take on such a facile and self-serving argument. And we all know why…. because nobody in that world is going to come to your defense. They are going to sit there on their hands and watch you burn, just like Welch and Moynihan did in that exchange.

        4. Really wish Kmele was there last week for that.

          1. Yeah… battling privilege! Does “Identifies as not-black” trump woman? The world may never know…

      2. Is your stance really that the media can’t report “Hillary said a thing about Tulsi”?

        It might be defamation, but the media isn’t defaming anyone. All they’re doing is reporting on what Hillary said. This is pretty clearly protected 1A speech, informing the public about what politicians are doing/saying is one of the reasons why freedom of the press was guaranteed.

        I get that a lot of Reason commenters have this weird boner for Tulsi (she isn’t THAT hot, guys) but this is just pathetic. To the extent that someone needs to be held responsible for lying, it’s Hillary, not the people reporting on what she said.

        1. My stance is that defamation is not contrary to free speech. The media likes to claim that it is because the media has a vested interest in defamation not being actionable.

        2. Is that what you got from that anecdote? Or was that more directed at the general ethos? Because I don’t see how I implied any of that. I don’t even see how any of that is implied by the entire argument.

          Gabbard is suing Clinton. Not the people who reported what Clinton said.

          And I’m talking about “threats to free speech”, of which reason thinks this lawsuit is a big one. I put it in context with something that was demonstrably “chilling” of free speech. You can go listen to their speech get chilled yourself – the podcast is a free download.

          1. She is also asking the court to issue an injunction to prevent the publication of Clinton’s statements, that’s my problem.

            I’m not saying she can’t sue for defamation, she absolutely can. I’m saying she shouldn’t be trying to prevent media from reporting on it, as that is contrary to free speech.

            1. Well, that’s just dumb. Prior restraint is a settled issue, for one.

        3. “I get that a lot of Reason commenters have this weird boner for Tulsi (she isn’t THAT hot, guys)”

          She’s an incel 6, or an incel 8 for those who don’t have high-definition televisions, which is most of them.

  15. “The lawsuit might be good politics, but it’s bad for free speech.”

    Yeah, not seeing how suing someone for lying about them is bad for free speech.

    Know what’s bad for free speech? Letting assholes lie about people without repercussions.

    1. Especially when the lawsuit could have been avoided if the defendant had, as the plaintiff requested, issued an apology or retraction.

      This is different than being crass or saying something offensive. This is throwing out a serious accusation without any substantiation or expectation that it’s true.

  16. “Democracy requires that people can say nasty, even untrue, things about their opponents and rivals without the fear of being dragged into court.”

    OK Christian, explain how democracy REQUIRES that deliberate lies go forth unchallenged. I call bullshit. You tell deliberate lies with the clear intention of influencing the election, and you get dragged into court. THAT is what democracy requires.

    1. History proves that statement to be completely untrue. The courts in this country have always recognized libel and slander as torts. Even post NYT v. Sullivan, there has never been a “its okay to lie in politics” exception to these torts. Christian is either lying or completely ignorant of the subject or both.

    2. “explain how democracy REQUIRES that deliberate lies go forth unchallenged.”

      People have exposed Clinton as a Liar and she is losing trust among the populations, so I would say that her lies are not being challenged is itself a lie.

      Believe an intentions for Freedom of Speech is that the Solution to Defamation is More Speech, and that is what is good for Democracy

  17. Publicly accusing someone of being a traitor (an actionable offense) for the explicit purpose of hurting her campaign is pretty serious business. Maybe Hillary should shut the fuck up and relegate herself to the dustbin of history.

    1. Is “asset” a word with enough wiggle room to get away with it as opinion? It certainly sounds like she is directly accusing her of being a Russian spy when she uses that word.

      1. There probably is wiggle room enough that Clinton isn’t going get nailed by this. We know how the Clinton family likes to get pedantic with the definitions of words when called out.

        1. The defense is sort of that it is an opinion. Asset has an objective meaning. Hillary’s defense can’t be “my opinion is that she works for the Russians”. Whether Gabbard works for the Russians is an objective fact not an opinion. Hillary’s defense is going to have to be that she meant that Gabbard’s campaign benefited Russia and thus was an asset to it and not that Gabbard was a literal “Russian asset”. In that case the statement becomes Hillary’s opinion that Gabbard’s campaign is benefiting the Russians. And that isn’t slander.

          1. Findings of fact are a matter for the jury.

            1. But what is a fact and what is an opinion is a matter of law.

          2. Not to mention, Tulsi is a sitting member in the House of Representatives, and a current service member of the Army. The very idea that she is (would be) a Russian asset is preposterous.

            1. That’s never stopped Billary before. She’s a bitter old cunt with a rapist husband that will never be President, despite getting THREE MILLION MORE VOTES than orange man.

              How? By losing multiple states the Dems had carried for almost 30 years while she was off chasing the ever vaunted Suburban Republican Female Vote while Trump was busy [lazily, but still more effective than Hillary’s horrible campaign] stealing union support in the rust belt. Pretty fucking embarassing. I propose honorable suicide. Let’s put the old bitch outta her misery!

  18. I guess I have mixed feelings about this. I am all for the most free speech that can exist without causing actual damage to people (e.g. yelling fire in a crowded theater without an actual fire). But, I am getting really tired of our post-truth world. Most especially, I’m getting tired of politicians being able to literally accuse their opponents and those they don’t like of damn near anything without the slightest repercussion. Therefore, it seems to me, as with all rights, there is a required responsibility when it comes to free speech. You are allowed to speak, but you are not allowed to lie and defame anyone you choose with no consequence.

    This is a tough one for me.

    1. You could argue that the repercussions of Clinton running her mouth was she was denied her ascent to the iron throne.

      However, even in her fading glory, she can still hurt other candidate’s campaigns by making false accusations.

    2. Mary Todd Lincoln was accused of being a confederate conspirator.

    3. “(e.g. yelling fire in a crowded theater without an actual fire)”

      I would argue that Hillary’s public statements are more akin to yelling fire in an empty theater without an actual fire.

      Nobody believes a word she says.

      1. Unfortunately too many still believe what she says. Millions maybe.

    4. The way I have always looked at it, which I think is pretty consistent with the libertarian position, is that all crimes are some form of theft. Theft can be of a material loss(money, etc.), loss of time, loss of freedom, loss of life, etc. So in the case where someone slanders another person and causes that target of the slander to lose something tangible then that “should” be illegal. So if Gabbard can make the case that this slander will affect her job, her professional reputation, etc. then it is indeed a crime and it should prosecuted.

      You can still be entirely pro-free speech without allowing slander, lies, or speech which directly hurts another person(not talking about hurting someone’s feelings).

  19. The 2016 Democratic nominee is also referred to as “a cutthroat politician by any account.” (Tell us how you really feel, Tulsi!)

    That counts as a vicious insult in your book? In today’s political climate?

    Sheesh.

    Clinton, on her 2016 primary opponent, long after having “defeated” him:

    “Nobody likes him,” Clinton says. “Nobody wants to work with him; he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”

    In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published Tuesday, Clinton was asked if that assessment still holds.

    “Yes, it does,” she replied.

    “It’s not only him,” Clinton continued. “It’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women.”

    She added: “I really hope people are paying attention to that, because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [but he] seems to really be very much supporting it.”

    But how dare anyone call her “cutthroat”!?!

    1. Hillary’s favourite character in The Godfather was The Turk Solazzo because she admired his skills with the knife.

      1. Hillary would never stoop to see the The Godfather, She’s waiting for the Melissa McCarthy redo.

    2. Notice how Crooked Hillary maligns the people who support Bernie? Crooked Hillary has learned absolutely nothing from 2016. By all means, keep letting Crooked Hillary talk. She is a one-woman political wrecking ball.

  20. Hillary Clinton isn’t a libertarian, so she only gets to pull 1A if a government goon forces her to pray.

    1. Hillary Clinton spent the entirety of her failed career, fighting against the 1A, and she doesn’t get to bullshit that her slander and libel is protected speech.

  21. Wonder how Hillary now will feel about the Citzens United case?

  22. How is getting someone to stop lying bad for free speech. You can still lie all you want but there will be consequences just like you can punch all you want until you hit someone

  23. I suppose that as a public official, it will be extra hard for Gabbard to win against Clinton, even if she overcomes Clinton’s “I was speaking metaphorically” defense. Clinton could say that, even if she was wrong, it sure *looked* like Gabbard was a Russian asset, so why should she be hammered for a good-faith error?

    I’m not agreeing with this, but I think it’s what Gabbard will have to overcome if she wants to win.

    1. I’m guessing Gabbard probably doesn’t have much of a case. But if it sheds a very bright spotlight on Clinton’s bullshit, it may all be worth it.

  24. The point isn’t to win a lawsuit.

    The point is to make a high profile, public statement that Hillary Clinton is a mendacious liar.

    1. I was thinking the same. If you thought the impeachment was Democrats playing with enriched uranium, you’d be trying to secure the ‘most electable democrat’ label to yourself for a future election after the fallout has blown over.

      Wait for Sanders, Biden, and maybe Warren to die. Then you’ve just got to be more electable than Pete “I can’t even run South Bend” Buttigieg.

  25. Gabby is the hottest Democratic candidate, and that’s all that matters. Kamala might have given her a run for her money but she dropped out. Depending on your persuasion, Spartacus maybe….but he dropped out too. So Gabby it is.

  26. Clinton isn’t just a politician, she’s a former Secretary of State who for a long time had access to much classified information. When she says someone is “a Russian asset”, that isn’t just rhetoric; it’s a factual claim implicitly based on her personal knowledge. And it’s a lie, but hey.

    1. Completely agree with this. “A Russian asset” isn’t mere puffery or political jousting or an opinion. It’s an ascertainable fact. Thus actionable.

  27. Reason: The only person in government who should be punished for the things they say is Trump

    1. Bizactly

  28. …the court issue an injunction prohibiting the “publication or republication” of Clinton’s Russian asset comments.

    Too close to the election.

  29. But Hillary Clinton is not subject to the law, per James Comey.

    1. No reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Hillary Clinton. Not unless he wanted to hang himself in his jail cell at least.

  30. Tulsi is a loose-cannon on the deck of the USS DeeEnCee. Captian Clinton will have her strapped back down to the deck or she WILL be thrown overboard.

    Mark my words.

  31. Gabbard is a member of Congress. Clinton effectively accused her of treason, which has been, at points in our history, a capital crime. How is that not defamation?

    1. These observations from birthers and the “lock her up” crowd are hilarious.

      Clingers have squandered the compassion their betters had toward society’s culture war casualties and economic losers.

  32. Poor Hillary. She really needs to retire. I think the problem is nobody likes her so she doesn’t have any friends. If she did they would text her to go for lunch and the occasional girls night.

    She wouldn’t be writing this stuff. Instead she would be posting selfies of her and the gals drinking cosmos at TGIF and posing with that cute waiter.

    Bill I think is just out having a good time somewhere so she is bored.

  33. Gabbard is not going to win this one

    A Russian asset is a person who knowingly or unknowingly assists Russian foreign policy goals. Clinton is merely expressing her opinion, and in fact there is evidence she is correct.

    Russia has been attempting to use Gabbard as a spoiler in the Democratic primary.

  34. What is Tulsi hoping to accomplish here? The publicity will be a blip on the radar. Clinton has a quite a body count since the mid-80’s. Democrats and media don’t care. This will accomplish nothing.

  35. Gotta use those Ruskies to keep people emotionally irrational. I’m sure they use the US.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.