Rep. Ilhan Omar grills Venezuela Enovy Elliott Abrams over his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, during a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Omar accused the Trump official of glorifying the "massacre" and "rape" during the El Salvador civil war in the 1980s.
The exchange begins with Representative Omar questioning Mr. Abrams' credibility in light of his pleading to misdemeanors for withholding information from Congress during the 1980s. Mr. Abrams demands an opportunity to respond to the congresswoman's "attack" but is denied.
"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," Omar said. "I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful."
"Yes or no, would you support an armed faction within Venezuela that engages in war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide if you believed they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala?" she asked.
Abrams refused to answer.
REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): On February 8, 1982, you testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about U.S. policy in El Salvador. In that hearing you dismissed as communist propaganda reports about the massacre in El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as two years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops. During that massacre, some of those [American] troops bragged about raping a 12-year-old girls before they killed them … You later said that the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a fabulous achievement. Yes or no do you still think so?
ABRAMS: From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement.
OMAR: Yes or no, do you think that massacre was a fabulous achievement that happened under our watch?
ABRAMS: That is a ridiculous question.
OMAR: Yes or no?
OMAR: I will take that as a yes.
ABRAMS: I am not going to respond to that kind of personal attack, which is not a question.
The hearing was also interrupted by Code Pink protesters:
BREAKING: CODEPINK interrupts convicted war criminal Elliott “Death Squad” Abrams, Trump’s special envoy for Venezuela. No to US imperialism, no to the coup! #HandsOffVenezuela https://t.co/EkEbrUOTVk pic.twitter.com/C5ZdA9yU9L— CODEPINK (@codepink) February 13, 2019