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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.

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