Whether you think he's a "Maverick" or the voice of a majority of the GOP that has been outshouted in recent years, former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain made news Wednesday with remarks from the Senate floor strongly condemning a letter from five fellow Republicans to the Deputy Inspector General of the Department of State, that demanded he begin an investigation into the possibility that top State Department official Huma Abedin and other American officials are using their influence to promote the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. and Islamist causes interested in hurting the country. Sen. McCain called the accusations in the June 13 letter "not substantiated by evidence," and allegations about Abedin "sinister" and "ugly."
The June 13 letter to the State Department was signed by former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann, along with Reps. Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland, and was simultaneously sent with similar letters to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, theDepartment of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice.
Each letter roughly began:
As you may know, information has recently come to light that raises serious questions about the involvement of organizations and individuals associated with the Muslim Brotherhood in [insert department] activities and policies. Given that the U.S. government has established in federal court that the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission in the United States is “destroying Western civilization from within” — a practice the Brothers call “civilization jihad” — we believe that the apparent involvement of those with such ties raises serious security concerns that warrant your urgent attention.
The letters reportedly cite Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy 10-part lecture series, “The Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Enemy Within."
“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,” the letter says.
Practicing Muslim and Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison has been a strong critic of the letters, requesting that his fellow Minnesotan and her four colleagues "provide my office a full accounting of the sources you used to make the serious allegations against the individuals and organizations in your letters."
In response to Rep. Ellison's letter, Rep. Bachmann sent a letter outlining her sources, speaking further on the Abedin remaks:
Not once in the letter to the Inspector General of the Department of State, as you summarize, was it stated that "by extension, (Ms. Abedin), may be working on the organization's behalf."
Rep. Bachmann continued:
That her family members are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood has been reported and referenced widely in the Arab-language media, including Al-Hayat, The Arab Times and Al-Jazeera.
On Wednesday, Sen. McCain vehemently defended Abedin, whom he calls a “fine and decent American,” based on observations of her work as both a long-time aide to Clinton while she was a Senator and as the Secretary of State. While Sen.McCain criticized the letter, he did not mention any of his fellow Republicans by name.
"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,” said Sen. McCain. “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.”
Shortly after Sen. McCain's remarks, Rep. Bachmann's office released a statement where the Congresswoman says the letters from her and her colleagues are "unfortunately being distorted."
"I encourage everyone, including media outlets, to read them in their entirety. 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.
“Most recently, the State Department shockingly decided to give Hani Nour Eldin, a member of an Egyptian designed terrorist group, a visa to not only enter the country in violation of the federal laws prohibiting material support for terrorism, but to be granted a meeting inside the White House with National Security Council officials.
“The terror group member used the opportunity of his White House visit to call for the release of the imprisoned leader of his organization, the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, who is currently serving a life sentence for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later planned terror plots inside the U.S.
“This is just 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.”
Huma Abedin is the wife of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned from office in 2011 amidst scandal involving the Congressman posting lewd photographs of himself on Twitter.
Watch Sen. McCain's remarks here.