H. R. McMaster

Scoop: Inside Trump's naval blockade obsession

Illustration of a map with Battle Ship game toy pieces placed near Venezuela.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump has suggested to national security officials that the U.S. should station Navy ships along the Venezuelan coastline to prevent goods from coming in and out of the country, according to 5 current and former officials who have either directly heard the president discuss the idea or have been briefed on Trump's private comments.

Driving the news: Trump has been raising the idea of a naval blockade periodically for at least a year and a half, and as recently as several weeks ago, these officials said. They added that to their knowledge the Pentagon hasn't taken this extreme idea seriously, in part because senior officials believe it's impractical, has no legal basis and would suck resources from a Navy that is already stretched to counter China and Iran.

Michael Wolff debuts Trump's H.R. McMaster impression in new book

In this image, McMaster sits in the Oval Office.
H.R. McMaster in a meeting between President Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 20, 2018. Photo: Mandel Mgan/AFP/Getty Images

A scene from Michael Wolff's "Siege," coming Tuesday from Henry Holt: President Trump performed impressions of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, with "a droning voice and heavy breathing."

What they're saying: "[L]ike the last book, 'Siege' is ultimately crippled by three flaws," Ryan Lizza writes in his WashPost review. "Wolff’s overreliance on a single character [Bannon], and one who is now more distant from the action; factual errors that mar the author's credibility; and sourcing that is so opaque it renders the scoops highly suspicious and unreliable."

Go deeper: Trump muses about Protestant Supreme Court picks in Wolff's new book