VP Pence slams Ilhan Omar for accusing Trump admin of 'bullying' Venezuela: 'Doesn't know what she's talking about'

Vice President Mike Pence took aim at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Friday over her recent comments on the unrest in Venezuela.

During an interview with "America's Newsroom," the vice president responded to recent remarks from the freshman lawmaker when she stated Trump administration is partly responsible for the political and civil unrest unfolding in Venezuela because of its "bullying" tactics and sanctions.

"The congresswoman doesn't know what she's talking about," Pence said. "Nicolas Maduro is a socialist dictator who has taken what was one of the most prosperous nations in this hemisphere and brought it literally to a level of deprivation and oppression and poverty that we have never seen. Nine out of 10 people in Venezuela live in poverty. Three million people have fled Venezuela. That's not a result of U.S. policies. That's the result of dictatorship and socialism that has been imposed on people of Venezuela by Nicolas Maduro."

Earlier in the week, Omar told PBS' "Democracy Now!" that "a lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela and we have sort of set the stage for where we are arriving today."

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“This particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States," she added.

The vice president also touted a strong employment report, and backed Attorney General William Barr's decision not to testify in front of a House hearing over the controversial Mueller report, during the wide-ranging interview.

About an hour before the interview, a report released by the Labor Department showed U.S. job growth surged in April 263,000 jobs while the unemployment rate dropped to a more than 49-year low of 3.6 percent.

"It's really remarkable," Pence told Sandra Smith. "What people are witnessing is that the agenda President Trump ran on, and that we have been delivering on over the last two years, is working for every American."

The latest data reveals the economy is showing robust growth and provides a much-needed talking point for Republicans and the White House as the 2020 presidential election nears.

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During his sit-down at the White House, Pence said he "fully supports"Attorney General William Barr's decision to skip a House hearing on special counsel Robert Muller's Trump-Russia report.

The move by Barr accelerated an already bitter battle between Democrats, the White House, and the Justice Department. Democrats have threatened to hold Barr in contempt for missing the deadline to provide the House Judiciary Committee with an unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying evidence.

"I served on the Judiciary Committee for 11 years," Pence said. "I can recall no occasion where lawyers for the majority and the minority questioned a member of a president's cabinet under either party."

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Barr's hours-long appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday accelerated Democrats' calls for his resignation. Barr's also been accused of spinning key findings in the Mueller report in the president's favor.

While the Mueller report did not find any criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, it did not clear the president or his campaign of obstruction of justice. The report also noted that some Trump campaign officials had declined to testify, making it almost impossible to get a complete picture of what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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Pence largely echoed President Trump's comments to Fox News' Catherine Herridge on Thursday, that he doesn't want former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before Congress.

"Don McGahn was made available to the special counsel and by most reports provided him with 30 hours of testimony, all of which contributed to the report that concluded there was no collusion and no obstruction," Pence said. "Congress has that report available. They have the information available. There's certain redactions that are required under the law for grand juries but a limited number of members of Congress have access even beyond that, so the information is there for them to look at."

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He added, "As the president said last night, it's time for us to get back to business."