Elliott Abrams, Iran-Contra Convict, Named Special Envoy to Venezuela

Elliott Abrams, a former U.S. diplomat who was convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, was appointed as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s new special envoy for Venezuela. “Elliott will be a true asset to our mission to help the Venezuelan people fully restore democracy and prosperity to their country,” Pompeo told reporters in an announcement on Friday, according to Reuters.

Pompeo also reportedly said Abrams would accompany him to the United Nations on Saturday for a Security Council meeting on Venezuela. According to Reuters, Abrams told reporters the current situation in Venezuela—where current President Nicolas Maduro faces massive opposition protests—“deep, difficult and dangerous.” This week, President Trump backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who declared himself interim president of the country.

Abrams was convicted of two counts of “withholding information from Congress” during the Iran-Contra scandal while working as assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration. He was later pardoned by President George H.W. Bush, and worked for President George W. Bush as a national-security advisor.