Sen. John McCain ripped into a posse of GOP lawmakers led by Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) on Wednesday for targeting Huma Abedin — a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and a Muslim — in their quest to identify allies of the Muslim Brotherhood within the Obama administration.
McCain said the attacks on Abedin in a June 13 letter from five House Republicans, and a related report from the Center for Security Policy, run counter to the truth and to the values of the United States.
“The letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department or as a member of then-Sen. Clinton’s staff that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government,” the Arizona Republican said on the Senate floor.
“These attacks have no logic, no basis and no merit, and they need to stop. They need to stop now,” McCain said. “Ultimately what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person. This is about who we are as a nation and who we aspire to be. ... When anyone, not least a Member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation and we all grow poorer because of it.”
Bachmann responded with a statement saying that the June 13 letter and a follow-up letter she wrote last week to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who is also a Muslim, had been “distorted.”
Her statement did not directly name McCain.
“I encourage everyone, including media outlets, to read them in their entirety,” she said. “The intention of the letters was to outline the serious national security concerns I had and ask for answers to questions regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical group’s access to top Obama administration officials. ... I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces.”
Her letter to Ellison on Friday specifically questions how Abedin obtained a security clearance given what Bachmann called her family’s ties to foreign extremist organizations.
Copies of the House Members’ letter were sent to the inspectors general of Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the State Department.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.