Looks like Hillary Clinton has an asset deep within the bowels of MSNBC. On Morning Joe, former Hillary campaign aide Adrienne Elrod, now an MSNBC contributor, vigorously defended Hillary's attack on Tulsi Gabbard, in which the failed 2016 presidential candidate alleged that the Russians were "grooming" Gabbard to be a third-party candidate.
There's no doubt there would be a widespread liberal-media freakout if Gabbard ever did that. Or Michael Bloomberg, or anyone else with any cachet.
Elrod claimed that Hillary is "giving a very valid, very important warning," and went on to assert:
"The Russia propaganda machine has been propelling her, lifting her up since she announced her candidacy. We also know that there are pro-Putin donors here in the United States, American donors who have been giving to her campaign."
So who are these "pro-Putin donors" who have been contributing to Gabbard's campaign? A Daily Beast article from May reports:
"Donors to her campaign in the first quarter of the year included: Stephen F. Cohen, a Russian studies professor at New York University and prominent Kremlin sympathizer; Sharon Tennison, a vocal Putin supporter who nonetheless found herself detained by Russian authorities in 2016; and an employee of the Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT, who appears to have donated under the alias 'Goofy Grapes.'”
So, three donors: an NYU professor; someone who has actually been arrested by Russian authorities; and Goofy Grapes. If that's the extent of this fiendish Russian scheme to support Gabbard, it's pretty thin gruel on which Hillary/Elrod to base their allegations.
Cohen, by the way, is an MSM member in good standing as a former CBS news consultant who earlier this year participated in a panel discussion about Russia, alongside Dan Rather and Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of "The Nation," which organized the event.
Elrod used the same attack in the 10 am hour with MSNBC host Hallie Jackson. Hillary was making a Very Important Point:
Whether or not Tulsi or any other candidate that the Russians decide to prop up realizes it or not, they are trying to find somebody who they can use to divide this race. They know that Donald Trump, their candidate, cannot be reelected unless there's either a propped-up third-party candidate or voter suppression on the Democratic side. They are choosing Tulsi Gabbard.
Joe Scarborough expressed some skepticism over Hillary's attack, wondering why she would go after someone with such a meager standing in the polls. Scarborough also managed to work in an insult to President Trump, saying that instead of calling Jill Stein a Russian "asset," Hillary should have called her a "useful idiot," which, he claimed, "is what we can all call the President of the United States as it pertains to Russia."
Here's the transcript.
6:54 am EDT
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So, Adrienne --
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: A lot to unpack here, this is complicated.
SCARBOROUGH: A lot to unpack here, and you do wonder why Hillary Clinton would, first of all, attack somebody who that's struggling at 1% in the polls, and only give her more oxygen. It's a dream for Tulsi Gabbard for her to do that. But secondly, to call Jill Stein a "Russian asset?" Asset, that has a very specific meaning. She should have just done what we conservatives used to call Russian apologists, and what we can all call the President of the United States as it pertains to Russia: a useful idiot. It’s one thing to call somebody a useful idiot for Russia, it’s another thing to call them an asset. Why did she do that?
ADRIENNE ELROD: Well, you know, Joe, I think it's less about the messenger and more about the message. The point that Hillary Clinton was making, of course, is that the Russia propaganda machine, whether Tulsi Gabbard is even that aware of it, the Russia propaganda machine has been propelling her, lifting her up, since she announced her candidacy. We also know that there are pro-Putin donors here in the United States, American donors who have been giving to her campaign.
So I think Hillary Clinton is giving a very valid, very important warning to all of us that we’ve got to be mindful of the fact that Russia knows they’re only going to win this election, I say they are going to win this election, because they want to win this election by re-electing Donald Trump, by either propping up a third-party candidate and/or suppressing the Democratic vote. So, whether or not Tulsi Gabbard is aware of this, whether or not she's even completely, has complete knowledge of what’s happening, the Russians are propping her up . . . So I think [Hillary] is giving us a very important warning right now that we need to take notice. Again, whether it’s Hillary making these claims, other people, these are the things we've got to pay attention to, because Donald Trump only got 46% of the vote in 2016, he’s not going to get re-elected without a third-party candidate.
MIKA: Adrienne Elrod, thank you very much.