Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump puts foreign investors first by supporting the Republican tax plan DNC asks entire staff for resignation letters Ellison pens Jezebel op-ed honoring role of women in labor fight MORE on Monday slammed House Republicans who suggested one of her top aides has links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, saying there is “no place in our politics” for such “assaults.”
Clinton was marking the release of the State Department's annual report on religious freedom around the world when she was asked to comment about the allegations against her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. Five House Republicans have asked the State Department's deputy inspector general to probe Abedin's alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a request that has been condemned by some leaders of their own party.
Clinton has mostly kept silent about the allegations, although State Department spokesman Philippe Reines has previously denounced them as "nothing but vicious and disgusting lies,” adding that “anyone who traffics in them should be ashamed of themselves.”
The House members who made the allegations — Reps. Michele BachmannMichele Bachmann'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast Ex-rep admires furs amid PETA inaugural gala Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog MORE (R-Minn.), Trent FranksTrent FranksLive coverage: House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill GOP lawmakers leave Trump White House with no deal Trump, GOP struggle to find healthcare votes MORE (R-Ariz.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Louie GohmertLouie GohmertDon’t blame Trump for healthcare defeat — blame Louie Gohmert Trump, GOP fumble chance to govern House votes to begin debate on healthcare bill; six Republicans defect MORE (R-Texas) — have doubled down, accusing the media of focusing solely on Abedin instead of the broader risk of Islamist infiltration of government.
The remarks have been criticized by House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerNunes rebuffs calls for recusal Wounded Ryan faces new battle Bottom Line MORE (R-Ohio) and Sen. John McCainJohn McCainGOP lawmakers defend Trump military rules of engagement Senate backs Montenegro's NATO membership Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral MORE (R-Ariz.), who took to the Senate floor to denounce the accusations as "specious and degrading attacks."
These latest allegations surfaced after the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won the presidential elections in Egypt, forcing a reevaluation of U.S. ties to the Arab world's most populous country.
In her comments, Clinton called religious freedom a “bedrock priority” of the Obama administration's foreign policy.
“As I told the Christians with whom I met [when visiting Cairo earlier this month], the United States does not take the side of one political party over another,” she said. “What we do is stand firmly on the side of principles.”
Clinton said the United States was ready to work with Egypt's democratically elected leaders, but reaffirmed that “our engagement with those leaders will be based on their commitment to universal human rights and universal democratic principles.”