(WASHINGTON) — For the second time in two days a top Republican has rejected claims by Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other Republicans that an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ties to a radical Islamic organization.
House Speaker John Boehner said the suggestion by Bachmann, R-Minn., and the others was “pretty dangerous.”
Earlier this week Sen. John McCain called the insinuations “ugly” and “sinister.”
Last month, Bachmann, R-Minn., and four other House Republicans wrote a letter claiming that the family of Huma Abedin, a senior Clinton aide, has ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and questioned whether she is part of a conspiracy to harm the United States by influencing U.S. foreign policy with her high-level position at the State Department.
Boehner, R-Ohio, told a news conference today that he had not read the letter, but said, “I don’t know Huma, but from everything that I do know of her she has a sterling character. Accusations like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.”
The letter was sent June 13 to Harold Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General at the Department of State, while similar copies exploring other ties to the Muslim Brotherhood were sent to the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The letter states, “The Department’s Deputy, Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.”
It adds, “Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy making.”
The letter was signed by Bachmann, Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., read. “Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy making.”
Asked whether he believes that Bachmann should lose her seat on the Intelligence Committee, Boehner said he did not believe that the issues were related. Bachmann contends that the intent of her letter has been distorted.
Abedin, who was born in Kalamazoo, Mich., is married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, a New York Democrat who resigned after admitting he sent lewd pictures of himself to women from his House office.
McCain, R-Ariz., went on the Senate floor Wednesday to denounce the letter.
“These attacks have no logic, no basis, and no merit and they need to stop. They need to stop now,” McCain said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eric Bradner, Dana Bash and MJ Lee, CNN
Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News
Stephen Collinson, CNN