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McCain Defends Hillary Clinton Aide Against Bachmann Accusation

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Describing the accusations against her as “ugly” and “sinister,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., came to the defense of Huma Abedin, longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Last week five Republican members of the House of Representatives, including former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, made claims that Abedin’s family has ties to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and questioned whether she is part of a nefarious conspiracy to harm the United States by influencing U.S. foreign policy with her high-level position at the State Department.

“The Departments 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. Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy making,” according to the June 13th letter, signed by Reps. Bachmann, R-Minn., Trent Franks,  R-Ariz., Louie Gohmert,  R-Texas, Thomas Rooney, R-Fla., and Lynn Westmoreland, R-GA.

The letter was sent to Harold Geisel, the Deputy Inspector General at the Department of State, while similar copies were sent to the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

[ READ THE LETTER TO GIESEL HERE ]

The lawmakers point to a report by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank, which makes the allegations about Abedin’s family ties and calls on the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of State to begin an investigation into the possibility that Abedin and other American officials are using their influence to promote the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood within the U.S. government.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took to the Senate floor today to rip apart his fellow Republicans’ accusations and came to the defense of Abedin, whom he calls a “fine and decent American,” after observing her work as both a long-time aide to Clinton while she was a Senator and as the Secretary of State.

“These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way,” McCain said. “These attacks have no logic, no basis, and no merit and they need to stop. They need to stop now.”

McCain argued that there is no evidence to back up the claims by the House Republicans.

“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,” McCain said. “The letter in 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-Senator Clinton’s staff that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government.”

McCain said that no one, “not least a member of Congress,” should launch such a “degrading attack against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are an ignorance of that hey stand for.”

A statement issued after McCain’s speech by Bachmann suggested the letter was being taken out of context.

[ READ BACHMANN’S RESPONSE HERE ]

The controversy comes at a time when Abedin’s husband, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, may be trying to revamp and clean up his image. After being out of the public eye for over a year following an embarrassing sexting scandal which led to his resignation from Congress, rumors are swirling that Weiner may be planning a bid to succeed Michael Bloomberg as New York City’s mayor.

“It took a lot of work to get to where [we] are today, but I want people to know we’re a normal family,” Abedin told People magazine in an interview this week with her husband.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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