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Maduro at a 2018 independence day parade. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. unsealed drug trafficking charges Thursday against President Nicolás Maduro and other senior Venezuelan officials.

Why it matters: It's a highly unusual indictment of a head of state that comes 14 months after the U.S. recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's president. Maduro remains in power, even as the U.S. has insisted he step down and said all options were on the table if he did not.

  • The Trump administration has stepped up its sanctions — more will be announced Thursday, per NBC News — but not managed to topple Maduro.
  • The State Department is offering $15 million for information that could lead to Maduro's capture.

Venezuela is in the midst of one of the world's worst economic crises and millions have fled the country, overwhelming Colombia and other countries in the region.

  • The Trump administration has worked to block the regime's revenue streams, which include oil, gold and drugs.
  • The Venezuelan opposition is demanding democratic elections (Maduro rigged the last presidential vote), but has limited leverage.

What they're saying:

“For more than 20 years, Maduro and a number of high-ranking colleagues allegedly conspired with the FARC, causing tons of cocaine to enter and devastate American communities. Today’s announcement is focused on rooting out the extensive corruption within the Venezuelan government — a system constructed and controlled to enrich those at the highest levels of the government. The United States will not allow these corrupt Venezuelan officials to use the U.S. banking system to move their illicit proceeds from South America nor further their criminal schemes.” 
— Attorney General Bill Barr

The bottom line: Even some of Maduro's critics concede a compromise will be needed to break this damaging deadlock. The Trump administration's position remains that Maduro must go.

Read the charges.

Go deeper

Using apps to prevent deadly police encounters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

Why it matters: As states and cities face pressure to reform excessive force policies, apps that monitor police are becoming more interactive, gathering evidence against rogue officers as well as posting social media videos to shame the agencies.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.