Mar 28, 2019

Maduro regime bars opposition leader Guaidó from public office

Juan Guaidó conducts a session of the Venezuelan National Assembly. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela's Maduro regime announced on Thursday that it is barring opposition leader and National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó from holding public office for 15 years, AP reports.

The state of play: Per AP, the Venezuelan government cited alleged irregularities in Guaidó's financial records as a reason for his removal from office. Guaidó was reportedly under investigation by the government earlier this month for an alleged attack on Venezuela's power grid.

The big picture: The Trump administration has repeatedly called the physical safety of Guaidó, who has yet to respond to Maduro's announcement, a "red line."

  • National Security Adviser John Bolton said in January that any violence against the National Assembly or Guaidó "would signify a grave assault on the rule of law and will be met with a significant response.”
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham told Axios in January that Trump mused to him about the possibility of using military force in Venezuela.

Go deeper: Inside Trump's Venezuela policy pivot

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Trump's clemency spree

Rod Blagojevich in 2010. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that he commuted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption — as well as issuing full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

The big picture: The president's clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of "draining the swamp."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's improbable moonshot

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA is unlikely to meet its deadline of sending astronauts to the surface of the Moon by 2024, even with a large influx of funding.

Why it matters: The Artemis mission to send people back to the Moon is the Trump administration's flagship space policy, and its aggressive, politically-motivated timeline is its hallmark.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Science

Justice Department says U.S. attorneys are reviewing Ukraine information

Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Tuesday informing him that the U.S. attorneys for the Eastern District of New York and the Western District of Pennsylvania are reviewing "unsolicited" information from the public related to matters involving Ukraine.

Why it matters: Nadler had requested an explanation for the "intake process" that Attorney General Bill Barr stated had been set up in order to receive information that Rudy Giuliani had obtained about the Bidens in Ukraine.