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Trump speaking at a press conference. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

During an August 2017 Oval Office meeting to discuss sanctions on Venezuela, President Trump — to the dismay of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former National Security adviser H.R. McMaster — asked his top aides about the potential of having the U.S. invade the country, reports the AP's Joshua Goodman, citing a senior administration official familiar with the conversation.

Why it matters: A military invasion of Venezuela could jeopardize the U.S. relations with Latin American governments involved in the ongoing effort to punish Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for moving the country toward a dictatorship, the administration official told Goodman.

The details: Even after the initial pushback from his advisers, Trump continued to press for military action against Venezuela in the following weeks.

  • The president also discussed the idea with Latin American allies, including Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, writes Goodman, despite Trump's staff urging him not to raise the issue.
  • Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster reportedly even pulled the president aside, and explained to him why invasion was a dangerous option.

The big picture: This isn't the first time Trump has spoken about military action in Venezuela. Last August, he said the U.S. military would be "locked and loaded" to take action against the country.

Editor's note: The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment from Axios.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

4 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."