Stories by Rebecca Falconer

Venezuela's Maduro regime in secret talks with U.S. on free elections: WSJ

President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro (R) talks to President of the Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello (L)
Diosdado Cabello, who heads Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly, with President Nicolás Maduro. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

U.S. officials are in secret talks with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's top aides for him to step down and enable free elections in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. Axios' Jonathan Swan reported Sunday that talks were taking place.

Details: Key Maduro regime figures are trying to negotiate for safety guarantees in order for elections to take place, according to WSJ. Senior Maduro representatives have offered opposition negotiators the possibility of a presidential election in the coming months, WSJ reports.

North Korea: U.S. cruise missile test dangerous

The Defense Department conducts a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California.
The Defense Department conducts a flight test of a conventionally configured ground-launched cruise missile at San Nicolas Island, California. Photo: Defense Department

North Korea on Thursday called the recent U.S. cruise missile test and military plans including the deployment of F-35 jets around the Korean peninsula "dangerous," warning the action "would trigger a new cold war."

Why it matters: Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have continued to stall, despite President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreeing at a June 30 meeting to restart the negotiations. The situation on the Korean Peninsula remains tense. North Korea has conducted 6 weapons tests since June 25.

Jay Inslee withdraws from 2020 presidential race

 Democratic presidential candidate and Washington Governor Jay Inslee speaks with reporters at the Iowa State Fair August 10, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks with reporters at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 10 in Des Moines. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday that he is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race.

Why it matters: Inslee was a longshot for the Democratic nomination, but his focus on climate change has helped elevate the issue to a degree unseen in prior cycles. He was the driving force behind what’s now a wider — though still unsuccessful — campaign for the Democratic National Committee to hold a debate on the topic. Inslee hit the donor threshold to qualify for September's Democratic debates, but did not meet the minimum polling requirements.