Senator Rand Paul has urged President Trump to shut out neoconservative war hawks from the State Department, as it has emerged that Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, could be appointed to serve in the number two spot.
“Elliott Abrams is a neoconservative too long in the tooth to change his spots, and the president should have no reason to trust that he would carry out a Trump agenda rather than a neocon agenda,” Paul writes in an opinion piece for the libertarian website Rare.
Abrams was intimately tied in with the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s, and was even convicted of withholding information from Congress about covert government activities in Nicaragua and El Salvador. He was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush.
“Congress has good reason not to trust him — he was convicted of lying to Congress in his previous job,” Paul notes in his piece.
Abrams is also believed to have been involved in approving the attempted Venezuelan coup against Hugo Chávez in 2002 while serving as Special Assistant to the President and holding office in the National Security Council.
Senator Paul urges Trump not to appoint Abrams, adding that his “neocon agenda trumps his fidelity to the rule of law.”
Paul points out that during the election, Abrams publicly spoke out against Trump’s intention to withdraw from policing the world.
“He is a loud voice for nation building and when asked about the president’s opposition to nation building, Abrams said that Trump was absolutely wrong; and during the election he was unequivocal in his opposition to Donald Trump, going so far as to say, ‘the chair in which Washington and Lincoln sat, he is not fit to sit,’” Paul writes.
It is believed that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is the one pushing for Abrams to join him at the State Department.
Paul, a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, hopes Tillerson “will continue the search for expert assistance from experienced, non-convicted diplomats who understand the mistakes of the past and the challenges ahead.”
Meanwhile, the President again took to Twitter Tuesday to respond to continued reports in the press alleging that Trump is under the control of Vladimir Putin.
I don't know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy – yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2017
The reports follow an appearance by the President on Fox News, during which he said the U.S. has “a lot of killers” too when asked by Bill O’Reilly to comment on the assertion that Putin has sanctioned state assassination in the past.