President Trump Says He Won't 'Rule Out' Military Option In Venezuela

Fugitive mayor urges Venezuelans to continue resistance

Later Friday, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said the Defense Department has not been ordered to make any military movements related to Venezuela - but is prepared for that if need be.

Vice President Mike Pence is heading to Latin America Sunday amid deepening alarm over Venezuela's descent into political chaos and threats of a military response by President Donald Trump.

"This is our neighbor", Trump said in reference to Venezuela. We have troops all over the world, in places that are very, very far away. "We reject the cowardly, insolent and vile threats" of Trump against "the sacred sovereignty of Venezuela", Delcy Rodriguez, president of the assembly, wrote on Twitter. "We have many options, including a possible military option if necessary".

"By sanctioning Maduro, the United States makes clear our opposition to the policies of his regime and our support for the people of Venezuela who seek to return their country to a full and prosperous democracy", treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said July 31.

Trump said Friday that a military option against Venezuela was on the table, describing the situation there as a "dangerous mess".

Donald Trump speaks to the press from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

"No, Congress obviously isn't authorizing war in Venezuela", Sasse, a member of the Senate Armed Services committee, said in a statement.

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The Trump administration has issued a series of sanctions against Maduro and more than two dozen current and former Venezuelan officials.

When asked about military options following Trump's comments Friday, a US official told ABC News that "the State Department still has the lead".

Venezuela has descended into political chaos following President Nicolas Maduro's power grab. "Instead, Maduro chose the path of dictatorship", Trump added.

Caracas also expelled Peru's top envoy on Friday, hours after Lima announced it was giving Venezuelan Ambassador Diego Molero five days to leave Peru.

"The United States stands with the people of Venezuela in the face of their continued oppression by the Maduro regime", the statement continued.

Venezuela is facing a severe economic and political crisis after almost two decades of socialism, recently exacerbated by the Socialist Party's (PSUV) attempt to replace the democratically-elected National Assembly with a legislature comprised of hand-picked Maduro supporters.

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