Sign up for a daily newsletter defining what matters in business and markets


Pompeo names Elliott Abrams special envoy to Venezuela

Elliott Abrams being sworn in
Ronald Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State Elliot Abrams being sworn in at Iran-Contra hearings. Photo: Terry Ashe/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday that Elliott Abrams, a former Reagan official who pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra scandal, will serve as the Trump administration's special envoy to Venezuela.

Why it matters: Abrams is a "well-known and somewhat controversial figure in U.S. foreign policy circles" who — after being pardoned in 1991 — went on to serve in both Bush administrations, according to Politico. He was a critic of President Trump during the 2016 campaign, but nonetheless will join the administration at a pivotal moment in U.S.-Venezuelan relations.

Go deeper: The Trump-Maduro staredown