Tense exchange between Ilhan Omar and Venezuela envoy Elliott Abrams over his support for US-backed coups in the 80s.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 13, 2019
"I fail to understand why members of this committee of the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful." pic.twitter.com/BeprHzPkfy
It is pretty basic: if you appoint someone who has pled guilty to lying to Congress, expect them to get some heat when they appear before Congress. It is not that hard and definitely not surprising. That it is a particularly controversial new Congressperson is really beside the point. Someone has got to confront a guy who lied to Congress, especially if he didn't pay for it because he got a pardon. Pardoning those who lie to Congress tends to give a signal to future folks in the executive branch that you can get away with it. And, oh, yes, this new administration has been putting out the pardon carrot again and again, and then they appoint a guy who has a very checkered history--not just lying but subverting the will of Congress via Iran-Contra and condoning human rights violations by proxies. So, the Trump Administration, by appointing Abrams, was telling Congress to fuck off.
So, one Congressperson noted that he has a record as a liar so why believe him? Then she asked a basic and very important question--do the ends justify the means? In fighting for democracy or whatever (this administration's record on being pro-democracy is just a wee bit, um, weak), will Abrams and this administration mind just a little bit of human rights violations. Again, this is basic oversight stuff--Congress asking the executive if they will bend their responsibilities (to faithfully execute the laws of the US) to pursue a goal. Has this administration given Congresspeople any cause to think they might not respect the law?
So, of course, given the very recent controversial where Congresswoman Omar tweeted about money and Israel (which I criticized), some folks are saying this is an anti-Semitic attack because Abrams is Jewish. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaase. That is utter bs as Abrams did, indeed, plead guilty for lying to Congress (to avoid trial and perhaps bigger penalties) and was in office when proxies of the US committed human rights violations. It is surprising that no one else asked these questions and would have been awful had no one done so. Saying Abrams is being attacked is simply wrong--he is testifying and she is asking questions and put the whole thing in context by reminding folks that he lied to Congress and got away with it.
Maybe we forgot what oversight looked like because the GOP sucks at it. Omar focused on the facts and raised relevant questions about future behavior given past behavior. What else would one expect of the co-equal branch of the US government, especially of an administration that lies often and does not seem to treat Congress as a co-equal branch?
So, yeah, all those making excuses for Abrams really have no leg to stand on.
Oh, and to bring in Harry Potter, maybe, just maybe, Abrams should show a little remorse.