McCain rips Bachmann’s Muslim Brotherhood accusations

McCain, a Republican, didn't mention Bachmann by name, but called her accusations 'attacks' and said they 'have no logic, no basis, and no merit. And they need to stop now.'

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John McCain ripped Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann on Wednesday for suggesting an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Bachmann and a group of four conservative House Republicans sent a letter in June to the inspector general of the State Department urging an investigation into Huma Abedin’s connections to the Islamist political organization, alleging she shouldn’t have been given security clearance because of former business dealings involving her late father, citing a study by the Center for Security Policy.

Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, a Muslim, told Anderson Cooper Tuesday the evidence is “repeated false allegations, just regurgitated nonsense.”

In a blistering Wednesday speech on the Senate floor, McCain, a Republican, didn’t mention Bachmann by name, but called her accusations “attacks” and said they “have no logic, no basis and no merit. And they need to stop now.”

“To say that the accusations made in both documents are not substantiated by the evidence they offer is to be overly polite and diplomatic about it,” he said. “It is far better, and more accurate, to talk straight: These allegations about Huma Abedin, and the report from which they are drawn, are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant.”

Abedin is a top aide to Clinton and the wife of former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner. McCain said he came to know her during a trip he took with Clinton when she served in the Senate.

“I had the pleasure of seeing firsthand her hard work and dedicated service on behalf of the former Senator from New York — a service that continues to this day at the Department of State, and bears with it significant personal sacrifice for Huma,” McCain said.

“I hope these ugly and unfortunate attacks on her can be immediately brought to an end and put behind us before any further damage is done to a woman, an American, of genuine patriotism and love of country.”

Bachmann delined to comment on McCain’s speech during floor votes Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, she sidestepped both the speech and the specific Abedin accusations, instead saying that the original letters regarding the Muslim Brotherhood are “unfortunately being distorted.”

“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,” she said.

Bachmann cited the recent White House visit of a self-professed member of an Egyptian terrorist group as the “latest example of the dangerous national security decisions made by the Obama administration.

“I will not be silent as this administration appeases our enemies instead of telling the truth about the threats our country faces,” she said.

Bachmann, along with Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., wrote to the inspectors general of five government agencies in June asking them to investigate the reach of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. government.

Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, asked Bachmann for a more thorough breakdown of the accusations. Bachmann responded with a 16-page letter on Friday, which included her suspicion of Abedin.

Bachmann wrote that Abedin’s long-dead father had founded a Saudi Arabia-based group called the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs that “had the quiet but active support” of the Muslim World League, which “has a longtime history of being closely aligned and partnering with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

In a Wednesday letter back to Bachmann, Ellison called the connection “guilt by association.”

“The primary source of evidence for your serious claims against Ms. Abedin is that her deceased father founded an institute that received unspecified ‘support’ from a man who at one point led an organization that was aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood,” he wrote. “In making this connection, which is five times removed from Ms. Abedin, you engage in guilt by association.”

Hillary Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines called Bachmann’s accusations “nothing but vicious and disgusting lies, and anyone who traffics in them should be ashamed of themselves.

“I would hope that hearing the remarkable statement from someone of Sen. McCain’s stature gives her pause in doing so any further.”

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com

Comments (57)

  1. Submitted by Steve Hoffman on 07/18/2012 - 12:13 pm.

    This is news?

    More crazy lies from Michele Bachmann? Okay, she got her name in the paper again, never mind the cost to an innocent person’s reputation. I am SO sick of Miss Crazy Eyes and her never-ending rants. Can we hope that when she’s defeated in the next election she’ll finally go away?

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/18/2012 - 01:22 pm.

    Two words

    Manchurian candidate.

    • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 07/18/2012 - 02:08 pm.

      One word

      Delusional

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/18/2012 - 03:32 pm.

      She is?

      Never play the Queen of Diamonds when she’s aroud.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 07/18/2012 - 06:24 pm.

      Your

      Kind of Republican them?

    • Submitted by Dale Torgerson on 07/18/2012 - 06:52 pm.

      More than two words.

      Your attack on Senator McCain is ethically degenerate. You know better, but you did it anyway. Why? Because he lost the last election and wouldn’t stoop to gutter level Karl Rove tactics then or now? What’s next from you? Besmirching the honorable lifetime service of a great American like John McCain is disgusting.

  3. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/18/2012 - 02:03 pm.

    John McCain?

    Yawn.

    • Submitted by Rachel Weisman on 07/18/2012 - 02:25 pm.

      By yawn you mean?

      Are you yawning because everyone already knows that John McCain is really a liberal lackey? Or are you yawning because you are tired of McCain yet again having to call out those from his own party for their outrageous lies?

  4. Submitted by JP Winker on 07/18/2012 - 02:15 pm.

    This woman continues to be an embarrassment to decent Minnesotans. I can only surmise that one votes for her by ignoring facts, reality, and thinking.

  5. Submitted by barbara verhoeven on 07/18/2012 - 02:19 pm.

    Bachman

    I cannot believe the people of the 6th district keep voting this do nothing crazy women into office, Wake up and get rid of this GOP welfare queen

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/18/2012 - 02:32 pm.

    Just a thought

    If Keith Ellison spent 1/2 as much time looking after the best interests of his constituents as he does defending the Muslim Bortherhood, maybe North Minneapolis wouldn’t be on track for setting a new record number of homicides. Maybe a three and six year old child wouldn’t have been gunned down.

    Maybe not, and of course even if he did, there’s no headlines for him to grab with any of that, but it couldn’t hurt.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 07/18/2012 - 04:17 pm.

      Tommy & Michelle

      Soon the two of them will blame the Brotherhood for the Northside shootings.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 07/18/2012 - 08:54 pm.

      The republican leadership in the House

      Have absolutely no concern for his constituents or any desire to help them, and you know it Swift. If you think that Ellison seeks headlines more than Bachmann, you are more delusional than her.

  7. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/18/2012 - 02:44 pm.

    Even republicans can’t stand her.

    Bachmann is the spotlight seeking looney tunes that even irritates republicans. Bachmann is a shining example of the detrimental affect of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. She is a mouthpiece without a filter, devoid of facts, and supports the fringe element of the republican party.

    • Submitted by Steve Roth on 07/18/2012 - 02:56 pm.

      She’s on a long audition for Fox “News”

      And throwing your hat in with the likes of Gohmert just adds to the embarassment.

  8. Submitted by Jake Smitty on 07/18/2012 - 02:44 pm.

    It sucks but she’s right.

    Everyone involved in our government should have a clean slate and there should not be a slight possibility of a threat to our national security. Even though her late father had connections to a possible threat, Abedin has to live with that association as well. I mean, it’s one thing if she wanted to work at a bank but you can’t have any ties to a terrorist organization and work for the U.S. government, even if it wasn’t your fault. That’s just the way it should be.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/19/2012 - 07:08 am.

      History lesson

      You might want to Google “McCarthyism” . . . . . . .

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/19/2012 - 08:49 am.

        Google is wonderful, isn’t it Pat?

        “Scholars: Joseph McCarthy’s charges ‘now accepted as fact'”

        “WASHINGTON — Although Joseph McCarthy was one of the most demonized American politicians of the last century, new information — including half-century-old FBI recordings of Soviet embassy conversations — are showing that McCarthy was right in nearly all his accusations.”

        http://www.wnd.com/2000/02/4020/

  9. Submitted by Steve Roth on 07/18/2012 - 02:49 pm.

    Its Not Fox “News”

    Though Rep. Bachmann continuously conducts herself like her term is one long audition for the conservative propaganda outfit.

    She’s embarrasing, but really, there’s unfortunately a good number of people who believe what she says (putting aside the fact they will never see or read the numerous debunkings and fact-checking of her idiocy). Personally, I’m hoping she runs against Franken to put her loon-bat shenanigans on the national stage and continue to paint the picture of that her party is a parody at this point.

    And I can tell you from living in his district, Mr. Swift, that Ellison does a lot for his constituents and its easy using the e-mail and interweb machines to find out just how much. That said, I did the same for Ms. Bachmann and found very little. Except for painting ridiculous conspiracy themes and straight out lying about the President and his party in general.

    But that’s what a Fox “News” audition requires.

  10. Submitted by scott gibson on 07/18/2012 - 03:14 pm.

    They’re yawning (or calling McCain the Manchurian candidate)

    because, NO ONE is pure enough to represent the current Republican Party. In their eyes, virtually all past Republican leaders/national candidates have been ‘liberal lackeys’. That list would include not just McCain, but Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, Bob Dole, GHW Bush & G W Bush, etc. There can be no appeasement with perceived political enemies, either within or outside of the country. Of course, those perceptions villianize most everyone else on the planet. Only folks like Santorum and Bachmann qualify to lead the pure Repubs. If Romney loses, he will immediately join the list. Only partisan flame-throwing society-dividing judgmental conspiracy types need apply.

  11. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 07/18/2012 - 04:16 pm.

    Bachmann and othe GOPers

    Bachmann and other GOP legislators are becoming almost Eugene McCarthy like. I have seen anything like it in years.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/19/2012 - 04:17 am.

      Eugene McCarthy?

      mmmkay

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/19/2012 - 07:12 am.

        And you’ve never made a typo error?

        Or perhaps you pay a copy editor to review all your posts?

        You know full well he meant Joe McCarthy (and this time I have NO hesitation about speaking on Mr. Kjer’s behalf).

  12. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/18/2012 - 04:30 pm.

    Maybe the 2000 McCain is back.This is the funny, free-range McCain, the independent who dares speak about and support increased fuel-efficiency standards. The candidate who ran against his party in 2000.

    That guy — the interesting one — is back.

  13. Submitted by Ann Richards on 07/18/2012 - 05:15 pm.

    She has been associated with our government since 1996, and you think in all that time she has not been thoroughly checked? Rep Bachmann has been hanging out with Frank Gaffney (there is a Communist and a Brotherhood radical under every bush).

    For a very interesting read, try Changemakers in which Sen McCain keeps asking his staff, who are these crazies? He was frightened by the thought process of the wing nuts- of course that makes him suspect.

  14. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 07/18/2012 - 07:35 pm.

    Wasting an opportunity

    I question the assumptions behind these aspersions:

    – that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is necessarily our enemy;
    – that this organization is the same ole outfit that Ayman al-Zawahiri belonged to;
    – that the Muslim Brotherhood is a monolithic organization across all international boundaries;
    – that in our foreign policy, we should have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    It seems to me there is a priceless opportunity here to mend some fences with the worldwide Islamic community by offering some consultations and even joint activity with this instance of the Muslim Brotherhood – i.e., to grow out of demonizing and engage them in a mature dialogue. After all, they did win the election, and our great American ideology calls for self-determination, right?

    One problem with demonizing is the excess to which it is all-too-easily taken, leading to ignorance. This same Muslim Brotherhood is committed to alleviating poverty and inequality, it funds and operates hospitals, schools, and programs to help the destitute, programs superior in quality to those the government of Egypt has provided. Its official policy opposes violent means to achieve political ends.

    While it’s true there may be some in the Muslim Brotherhood who are off the reservation, so to speak, what organization doesn’t have its outliers? For example, do the ravings of Michelle Bachmann represent the mainstream GOP? Most of the mainstream GOP would like to see her go away, she is such an embarrassment.

    It would be very helpful to our country if we began dealing with responsible Muslim organizations on a basis of mutual respect.

    The McCarthy-esque rantings of a fool like Michelle Bachmann have nothing to do with the fundamental interests of the United States.

  15. Submitted by Brian Turner on 07/18/2012 - 10:08 pm.

    The ridiculous duo strikes again…

    Thank you, Dennis and Thomas. I needed a good laugh today. So funny! So ironic! With the right secret words, I’m guessing Huma Abedin will un-holster a love gun and spray rainbows across the 5th District, and force Rep. Ellison to do something! I get it! Funny! Funny! Do another one, Ridiculous Duo!

  16. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/18/2012 - 10:45 pm.

    Civilized discussion

    Steve Hoffman wrote:

    “More crazy lies from Michele Bachmann?”; “I am SO sick of Miss Crazy Eyes and her never-ending rants.”

    Rachel Weisman wrote:

    “call out those from his own party for their outrageous lies?”

    Logan Foreman wrote:

    “If you think that Ellison seeks headlines more than Bachmann, you are more delusional than her.”

    Tom Christiansen wrote:

    “She is a mouthpiece without a filter, devoid of facts, and supports the fringe element of the republican party.”

    Steve Roth wrote:

    “I’m hoping she runs against Franken to put her loon-bat shenanigans”

    Kenneth Kjer wrote:

    “Bachmann and other GOP legislators are becoming almost Eugene McCarthy like.”

    Ann Richards wrote:

    “He was frightened by the thought process of the wing nuts- of course that makes him suspect.”

    Steve Titterud wrote:

    “The McCarthy-esque rantings of a fool like Michelle Bachmann”

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/19/2012 - 06:19 am.

      Very complete summary

      A good solid summary of a so called representative who is totally out of control. Good luck getting any accomplishments out of her. There have been zero to date and no reason to expect anything different from her. No chance of her doing anything to move America forward, but maybe that is your goal. If those are the characteristics your are looking for then, in November, Bachmann is your person.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 07/19/2012 - 07:07 am.

      Discussion is a two-way street

      It is impossible to have a “civilized discussion” when one side refuses to acknowledge any rational acceptance of a truth greater than themselves. I take your listing of these comments and the Eugene gaffe as a way to attack the validity of the claims. I also notice Swift and Tester don’t really defend Bachmann directly or refute the responses except to make smirky comments. Hardly civilized discussiion.

      I think we could turn Bachmann’s logical approach on anybody. We find someone at her church with a distant relative into some shady activity, then we accuse her of supporting that activity because she “sits right next to” their relative every week in church. Then we ask, “..and what kind of person worships a God that supports (fill in the blank).

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 07/19/2012 - 07:36 am.

        Exactly!

        And that was the greatest peril posed by the slippery slope that was McCarthyism. Bachmann adherents and folks like Mr. Smitty above would do well to heed the lessons of history instead of ignoring it.

        I’m sure many here remember the premise of “Six Degrees of Separation” – that anyone on the planet can be linked to anyone else by at most six degrees of separation. What Bachmann is claiming is a “five degree of separation” link (per the McCain article) between Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood. And then she’s taking it a step farther by claiming some form of insidious influence.

        As you said, by that logic, we could indict nearly anyone on the planet for nearly any wild accusatory “guilt by association” charge we cared to drum up.

        This whole thing is truly pathetic (and more than a little scary due to the number of people who appear to be taking it seriously).

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/19/2012 - 07:37 am.

        Let the record show

        that I offered a pointed and detailed defense of Bachmann’s position that the moderators saw fit to block.

        • Submitted by scott gibson on 07/19/2012 - 09:07 am.

          and an unpointed, non-detailed slam on McCain

          just to devalue his defense. Guess what, there are Muslims out there. You will have to try to get along with most of them. Might try incorporating them into the American dream, even if they don’t fit your narrative 100%. Conservatives can’t just wave their magic wands and kill everyone that isn’t exactly like them.

    • Submitted by Steve Roth on 07/19/2012 - 08:45 am.

      All of those quotes…

      …are true and factual. Glad to see them all in one place.

  17. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/19/2012 - 08:29 am.

    So glad MinnPost has comment moderation…

    Mr. Tester, the moderation has been pretty lenient in putting up some of the things that you and Mr. Swift have posted. And many of my more intemperate comments have been rejected.

    I guess we will just have to trust their judgment in these matters.

    The MinnPost moderation system is the best in the Twin Cities.

    • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/19/2012 - 01:56 pm.

      re: moderation

      “The MinnPost moderation system is the best in the Twin Cities.”

      Just like e-Democracy?

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/19/2012 - 04:15 pm.

        No, Mr. Krasnoff

        The rules for posting on E-Democracy.org are quite different.

        You might want to have a careful look at them.

        link: http://bit.ly/LZgHrR

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/19/2012 - 05:16 pm.

          On the contrary, Mr. Gleason

          From personal experience, and you can check my posts at e-Democracy, as well as other posters – anyone who doesn’t fall in line with the progs (i.e. DFL, Green, left wing, et. al) is at the receiving end of selective enforcement of the “rules”, suspended and eventually kicked out.

          • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/19/2012 - 07:00 pm.

            On the contrary, Mr. Kraznoff?

            You asked if MinnPost commenting behavior was the same as E-Democracy and I said no and pointed you to the rules.

            Are you complaining that people like yourself, Mr. Tester, and Mr. Swift are being subjected to comment moderation in a different way than the “progs” on MinnPost?

            What does E-Democracy have to do with this discussion?

            • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/20/2012 - 06:34 am.

              What does E-Democracy have to do with this discussion?

              I was making an analogy, given the politics of Minnpost.

              • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/20/2012 - 07:25 am.

                A poor analogy, given the facts provided…

                If you have a complaint about MinnPost commenting policy being unfair to people like you, Tester, and Swift, please make it, rather than beating about the bush…

  18. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 07/19/2012 - 03:11 pm.

    I have to wonder how prominent her speaking role will be at the GOP National Convention.
    If our government lacked crooks and fools it would not be accurately representative of the people.

  19. Submitted by Ann Richards on 07/20/2012 - 09:04 am.

    Neal

    I am standing by my comments- wing-nut was one of the cleaner words the Senator used in inquiring where ‘those people came from’ Read the book – he was increasingly concerned about the level of discourse and unfounded charges and comments toward candidate Obama and others. Are you implying I should have changed McCains words? He discussed his concerns about the fringe of the Republicans with his staff on many occasions.

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