If you were to distill everything horrible about America’s foreign policy over the past 30 years and give it human form, you’d have Elliott Abrams: A convicted liar and war criminal whose participation in any number of bloody, U.S.-backed coups, insurrections, and massacres would—in a just world—land him a spot at the Hague, not President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
Nevertheless, here he sits, leading the Trump administration’s response to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, and generally acting as if his decades of engineering America’s dirtiest work is truly no big deal. And judging by the childish performance he gave before the House’s Committee on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, Abrams really, really, really doesn’t like being told that helping murder hundreds—if not thousands—of innocent people is actually a pretty bad thing.
During a contentious round of questions from Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, Abrams gesticulated, pouted, and whined as Omar asked him why anyone should trust him.
First, Omar pointedly noted that Abrams was deeply involved in the Iran-Contra scandal (he was pardoned by George H.W. Bush), adding, “I fail to understand why members of this committee or the American people should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.”
When Abrams tried to respond, Omar cut him off, saying, “That was not a question.”
She then raised his dismissal of the 1981 El Mozote massacre, in which U.S.-trained Salvadoran soldiers murdered more than 800 civilians—part of a civil war Abrams described later as a “fabulous achievement.”
“Yes or no,” Omar pointedly asked Abrams. “Do you think that massacre was a fabulous achievement, that happened under our watch?”
Calling it a “ridiculous question,” Abrams insisted, “I’m not going to respond to that kind of personal attack, which is not a question.”
“Yes or no,” Omar, undeterred, continued. “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, and Nicaragua?”
Smirking, Abrams responded that, “I don’t think this entire line of questioning is meant to be real questions, and so I will not reply.”
Elliott Abrams should almost certainly be in jail for the crimes he helped facilitate. But it gives some measure of comfort to see him so brutally uncomfortable while getting chewed out by at least one woman who’s sick of his bullshit.
Watch the full clip below: