WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison has been one of Michele Bachmann’s fiercest critics since she originally asked for a probe into the reach of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. government. On Thursday, she accused him of working with them as well.
Bachmann told Glenn Beck that Ellison “has a long record of being associated with CAIR [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] and with the Muslim Brotherhood.” She accused him of “trying to shut these questions down from getting addressed.”
Appearing on CNN Thursday night, Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, told Anderson Cooper, bluntly, “no, that’s not true.
“I support American institutions,” he said. “I don’t know enough about them. What I know about them is that in Egypt, one of their candidates has ascended to the presidency.”
Ellison said he’s “absolutely not trying to shut down their investigation. What I’m trying to do is to raise a concern about unfoundated allegations of disloyalty, specifically with regard to Huma Abedin. If she has legitimate evidence, she should come forward.”
Ellison, has criticized Bachmann’s demand that the inspectors general for a handful of U.S. government agencies investigate the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in their departments. Bachmann has accused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin of potentially working on the Muslim Brotherhood’s behalf, a charge denounced by first Ellison, then a range of Republicans like Sen. John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner this week.
Beck, for his part, called the Republican reponse “bull crap.”
Bachmann’s suspicion of Abedin revolves around business dealings between her late father, an institution he founded and one headed by someone with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. Critics have called the connection “guilt by association,” but Bachmann told Beck all she’s done is raise questions about how someone like Abedin has gotten a security clearance.
“If my family members were associated with Hamas, a terrorist organization, that alone could be sufficient to disqualify me from getting a security clearance,” she said. “So all we did is ask, did the federal government look into her family associations before she got a high level security clearance.”
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com