Anderson Cooper lit into Michele Bachmann on his Tuesday show for spreading rumors about the supposed infiltration by "Muslim extremists" into the U.S. government.
Bachmann, along with four other Republicans in the House of Representatives, has called for investigations into whether or not the government has been infiltrated by Islamic fundamentalists, and has specifically pointed a finger at Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton.
Cooper, in understated fashion, said that the evidence was "questionable at best." He spent most of his time debunking the claims about Abedin.
"Now you would think to make a charge like that -- for sitting members of Congress to make a charge like that, that they would have some actual evidence, right?" he said. "You would think that. But the truth is they don't have any direct evidence."
He then laid out Bachmann's evidence concerning Abedin. Essentially, it amounts to a series of tenuous familial connections -- Abedin's father was connected to another man whose group, Bachmann claims, is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
"So that's how many degrees of separation Bachmann's claim is based on," Cooper said. "Huma Abedin's deceased father, who started an organization decades ago, had the support of a guy who had another organization that might have had the support of another organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. And because of that, Huma Abedin might be some sort of spy or infiltrator and deserves to be investigated."
He noted that he has tangled with Bachmann and some of her associates, including Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, before. (Both were subjects of "Keeping Them Honest" segments in 2010, when he had a notably contentious interview with Gohmert.)
Cooper then brought on Democratic congressman Keith Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress.
"I think it just is the worst of guilt by association," Ellison said. "...I think it's really reprehensible and I do hope that people stand up to it."
"If you really believed there is this insidious security threat into the highest reaches of government, is that really something, as a Congress person, you make public?" Cooper asked. "You go on some conservative radio show? You write a public letter and put it on your Web site? Or is that something you actually contact, you know, Homeland Security and FBI, and ask for a secret investigation by which Congress people can do?"
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