Sen. Bernie Sanders challenged CVU graduates to not turn away from the many problems facing the country and the world, adding that their generation can make the difference in turning back poverty, climate change and more.

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling a federal investigation into his wife’s handling of finances at now-defunct Burlington College a politically motivated, unfounded attack.

In a testy exchange this week on CNN, the Vermont independent and former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination defended his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, and decried criticism of her time at the college’s helm.

“My wife is about the most honest person I know,” Sanders said Tuesday night on the Out Front program with Erin Burnett.

“It’s fairly pathetic that when people are involved in public life, it’s not only that they get attacked, but it’s their wives and their families that get attacked,” he added. “That’s what this is about.”

At issue is a federal investigation focused on allegations that Jane Sanders made fraudulent claims and assurances while seeking $10 million in financing for a 2010 Burlington College real estate deal. The inquiry was first reported this spring by the news website and confirmed by the Burlington Free Press.