WASHINGTON — Calling the accusations from conservative Republican members of Congress against a top Muslim aide to Hillary Clinton “pretty dangerous,” House Speaker John Boehner became the second top GOP elected official to stand by Huma Abedin, the secretary of state’s longtime adviser.
“From everything that I know of her, she has a sterling character,” Boehner said Thursday. “Accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”
On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the party’s former presidential nominee, gave an unexpected defense of Abedin on the Senate floor, calling for an end to the “ugly” and “sinister” attacks on the daughter of immigrants who “represents what is best about America.”
The Clinton aide has been singled out by conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and four other rank-and-file Republicans, who want a federal investigation to determine if Abedin is using her influence as deputy chief of staff at the State Department to further the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Bachmann, the chairman of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, and the other lawmakers point to an online video series from the Center for Security Policy that alleges links between various government officials and the Islamic group. The center was founded by a former Reagan administration official and conservative radio host, and its piece alleged Abedin’s late father and other relatives had connections with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Citing this series, the lawmakers wrote letters to various government offices seeking investigations about certain officials who advise or work for the U.S. government for similar alleged ties to the pan-Arab organization.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi, recently won the presidential election following the “Arab Spring,” and Clinton met with him last week in Cairo.
Boehner, though, fell short of reprimanding Bachmann, and did not appear inclined to pull her from the House Intelligence Committee.
“I don’t know that that’s related at all,” said Boehner, R-Ohio.
Bachmann has said the content of the letters was being “distorted,” and that she sought to outline the “serious national security concerns” she had about the connections between the Islamic group and top U.S. officials.
A three-term congresswoman, Bachmann is running for re-election this fall after a failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination.