Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has threatened to sue former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann, warning of “severe” “monetary sanctions.”
Gabbard sent a cease and desist letter to Olbermann and threatened to sue him for calling her a Russian asset.
She sent a letter to Olbermann that said:
“After you falsely labeled Representative Gabbard a ‘Russian Asset,’ you ludicrously claimed that there is a ‘case for detaining [her] militarily.’
“A reasonable reader would only understand that you meant to convey that Representative Gabbard is a foreign operative of the Russian government.
“If an American citizen was acting as a ‘Russian Asset,’ he or she should be committing the crime of gathering, transmitting or losing defense information, and would be subject to imprisonment.
“See 18 U.S.C. § 793(a) (prohibiting the gathering of certain kinds of intelligence to the benefit of a foreign nation).
“The consequences of this crime for a military officer such as Representative Gabbard are even worse.
“If you had intended any other meaning than to accuse a United States service member of aiding a foreign enemy, you would not have immediately followed your accusation with a statement that Representative Gabbard should be ‘detain[ed] . . . militarily.’
“Your accusation that Representative Gabbard is a ‘Russian Asset’ therefore conveys to your readers that Representative Gabbard is a foreign operative who is aiding the Russian government in its human intelligence efforts. Needless to say, this is completely false.
“Further, this accusation is extremely injurious to the reputation of Representative Gabbard as an Army officer and former member of Congress.
“You further acted with actual malice when you defamed Representative Gabbard.
“Representative Gabbard’s loyalty to the United States is beyond reproach, and you either knew your description of her as a ‘Russian Asset’ was false when you made it, or you acted in reckless disregard as to her allegiance to the United States.
“Representative Gabbard will likely be forced to pursue litigation concerning this matter. Under governing state and federal court rules, you are on notice to maintain hard copies of documents as well as all e-mail and other electronically stored information pertaining to any statements you have made regarding Representative Gabbard (whether naming her directly or only referencing her) from March 1, 2022, onward, including, but not limited to, any prior communications with or concerning Representative Gabbard and any statements alleging Representative Gabbard is a Russian asset.
“Electronically stored information includes e-mail, voicemail, word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, calendars, networks, computer systems (including legacy systems), servers, archives, backup, and disaster recovery systems, tapes, disks, drives, cartridges, other storage media, laptops, internet records (including but not limited to, any postings made to Facebook, Reddit, and other similar social media sites), web pages, personal computers, and other information storage devices.
“You are instructed to retain any copies you have on any storage medium, including sources of data such as portable hard drives, memory cards, ‘thumb drives,’ blackberry, personal digital assistants, mobile telephones, iPods®, and smartphones.
“This list is not exhaustive; these potential locations of relevant data are included by way of example only, and all documents relating in any way to the dispute discussed in this letter must be preserved.
“Your failure to comply with all statutory document and data preservation obligations that now exist may be severe, including monetary sanctions, terminating sanctions, or other sanctions.
“Representative Gabbard hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from making false statements of the type discussed above, including, but not limited to, that Representative Gabbard engaged in treasonous conduct of any kind, to any third parties, and by any means, including verbally, in writing, on social media or otherwise on the Internet.
“We further demand that you retract/takedown all such statements you have made about Representative Gabbard and destroy all copies of those statements.
“If you wish to settle this matter before litigation is commenced, we further demand that you agree to enter into a settlement and release agreement, which will memorialize the above terms and which will include a retraction and apology, and other terms to be mutually negotiated.
“While Representative Gabbard is prepared to take whatever legal action necessary to protect her good name and reputation, her preference would be to resolve this matter out of court.
“Please confirm with us, in writing via E-Mail, by Wednesday, April 27, 2022, that you will comply with the above demands, and to indicate whether you will enter into a settlement and release agreement.
“Our client reserves all rights to proceed with litigation in the event that a settlement cannot be reached.
“After serving in elected office at the state and local levels, Representative Gabbard was elected to the United States Congress at the age of thirty-one.
“Representative Gabbard served on the Armed Services, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs Committees.
“Representative Gabbard continues to serve the United States in uniform as a lieutenant colonel in the 351st Civil Affairs Command, a unit of the United States Army Reserve.
“Thus, she has skin in the game when it comes to matters of foreign policy and war.
“On March 14, 2022, the Twitter account @LibWatchDog posted a video in which hosts of the View made outlandish statements suggesting that the Department of Justice should investigate Representative Gabbard, along with Fox News Host Tucker Carlson.
“That same day, you replied to the tweet, stating, ‘They are Russian Assets and there is a war. There’s a case for detaining them militarily. Trials are a sign of good faith and patience on the part of democracy.’
“While neither you nor the View hosts gave Representative Gabbard fair notice of the precise grounds for your attack on her, we surmise that your tweet was made in reference to a video Representative Gabbard published on Twitter the day before.
“In her video, Representative Gabbard called for a ceasefire in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine so that any biological laboratories in Ukraine could be secured.
“In her video, Representative Gabbard discussed United States government reports regarding American-funded biological laboratories in Ukraine and opined on the danger potentially posed by these laboratories.
“Representative Gabbard also generally criticized the United States government’s ongoing funding of laboratories engaged in experimental research on pathogens both in the U.S. and foreign countries because such pathogens may escape and result in new pandemics— threatening the health and wellbeing of citizens of the U.S. as well as people around the world.
“Whether your tweet’s baseless accusations stemmed from Representative Gabbard’s March 13, 2022, video or have some other unknown genesis, they were malicious and could not be further from the truth.
“Representative Gabbard is loyal to the United States and its interests.
“Further, any suggestion that she supports Russia’s actions in Ukraine is unmoored from reality.
“Representative Gabbard has unequivocally condemned Vladimir Putin for this brutal attack on Ukraine.
“She has personally visited Ukraine and has great love, empathy, and sympathy for both the nation and its people.
“While Representative Gabbard believes that free speech is a cornerstone of American democracy, your accusation that she is a ‘Russian Asset’ is far outside of the bounds of free speech and civility.
“It is defamation,” the letter said.
They are Russian Assets and there is a war. There’s a case for detaining them militarily. Trials are a sign of good faith and patience on the part of democracy.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 14, 2022