Bachmann vs. Rogers?

by Robert Costa

As I reported earlier today, there are tensions between allies of Representative Michele Bachmann and several top Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner.

All week, conservative talk-radio hosts have buzzed about Bachmann being under fire from party leaders for this letter about Huma Abedin and the Muslim Brotherhood. GOP leadership aides, for their part, have strenuously denied that Boehner threatened Bachmann with losing her intelligence-committee seat, or in any other way.

But in a conversation today, a source close to Bachmann told me that the real tension is not between Boehner and Bachmann but between Bachmann and Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, the chairman of the intelligence committee. Per the source, Boehner has stayed out of the fray, and has not exerted any private pressure. But late last week, Rogers met with Bachmann. There are different accounts of the meeting. In one account, Rogers just urged her to publicly clarify her comments. A source in the Bachmann camp says he urged her to apologize.

But all these sources agree that the discussion was not about Bachmann’s potentially losing her seat on the committee. There’s no doubt that it was a scolding, though. Rogers was particularly concerned about Bachmann’s naming of an American citizen (Abedin) in an intelligence-related context. Bachmann’s intel perch made some Republican members of the committee anxious about how lawyers and others would interpret the Abedin letter, especially since it could lead an observer to think she was basing her allegations on classified intelligence material. I’m told Rogers was very sensitive to the committee being connected to any non-congressional investigation of Abedin or other federal employees.

But the matter, for now, has died down. (And Rogers sources insist that he was never gunning for her.) After a press tour last week on the Abedin story, Bachmann has laid low in recent days, saying little about the controversy. Per sources, her low profile is understandable, since she’s locked in a very tight reelection race, and she does not want to give fodder to her opponent, who is said to be closing in on her lead in internal polls. She also very much wants to continue her work on the intelligence committee. Nobody, it seems, wants this to blow up.

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