Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonThis Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks Armed man arrested at DC pizzeria targeted by conspiracy theory Clinton opponents vow to continue their pursuit 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 BachmannWill Trump back women’s museum? Michele Bachmann on Trump victory: ‘God did this’ The right-wing wants a revolution, and we had better pay attention MORE (R-Minn.), Trent FranksTrent FranksGOP braces for Trump’s T infrastructure push Trump backers lack Ryan alternative Speaker Ryan tries new Trump strategy: Ignore him MORE (R-Ariz.), Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Louie GohmertLouie Gohmert Texas rep laments not being allowed to cook ribs on his Capitol balcony GOP votes to keep Ryan as Speaker GOP lawmaker: Illegal for Clinton to 'indicate' she'll keep AG Lynch 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 BoehnerLobbying World 'Ready for Michelle' PACs urge 2020 run News Flash: Trump was never going to lock Clinton up MORE (R-Ohio) and Sen. John McCainJohn McCainA Cabinet position for Petraeus; disciplinary actions for Broadwell after affair Meet Trump’s ‘mad dog’ for the Pentagon Wrestling mogul McMahon could slam her way into Trump administration 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.”