Feb 13, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar clashes with Elliott Abrams in heated Venezuela hearing

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) grilled President Trump's special representative to Venezuela Elliott Abrams during a House Foreign Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, arguing that she doesn't understand why the committee should believe Abrams' testimony in 2019 since he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in the 1980s about the Iran-Contra affair.


On Iran-Contra:

  • Omar: "Mr. Abrams, in 1991 you pleaded guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress regarding your involvement in the Iran-Contra affair for which you were later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.”
  • Abrams: “If I could respond to that …”
  • Omar: “It wasn’t a question.”
  • Abrams: "It was an attack."

On the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador:

  • Omar: “You dismissed as 'communist propaganda' reports about the massacre of El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as 2 years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops. ... You later said the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a 'fabulous achievement.' ... Do you think that massacre was a 'fabulous achievement?'"
  • Abrams: “That is a ridiculous question."
  • Omar: "Yes or no?"
  • Abrams: "No."
  • Omar: "I will take that as a yes."
  • Abrams: "I’m not going to respond to that kind of personal attack.”

On U.S. Venezuela policy under Trump:

  • Omar: “Would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide if you believe they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua?’
  • Abrams: “I am not going to respond to that question. I'm sorry. I don't think this entire line of questioning is meant to be real questions, and so I will not reply.”
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