Soldiers at the Venezuelan-Colombian border. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

As expected, yesterday brought violent clashes on the Venezuelan border. The Venezuelan opposition head Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. and some 50 other countries recognize as Venezuela's legitimate leader, led a massive effort to force humanitarian aid across the Colombian border into Venezuela.

The bottom line: Embattled dictator Nicolás Maduro is rapidly isolating himself. He's shut down commercial airspace; he's broken diplomatic ties with neighboring Colombia; and the military still loyal to him are shooting Venezuelan civilians. 

  • The Trump administration — including President Trump, Vice President Pence, national security adviser John Bolton and the State Department — have been declaring their support for the aid effort and issuing warnings to Maduro. 
  • Bolton tweeted: "Masked thugs, civilians killed by live rounds, and the burning of trucks carrying badly-needed food and medicine. This has been Maduro’s response to peaceful efforts to help Venezuelans. Countries that still recognize Maduro should take note of what they are endorsing."

Why it matters: Guaidó and his allies set up this moment to test Maduro — to see whether his troops, the key to his power, would obey his orders.

What's next? Maduro clings to power but is having trouble with energy and resources. The U.S. government already has broad sanctions in place. But senior Trump officials are now identifying individuals to sanction — they're going one by one through the senior ranks of Maduro's regime.

  • Pence plans to have his first meeting with Guaidó, in Colombia tomorrow, signaling support after the weekend violence. (Reuters)
  • Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted last night: "After discussions tonight with several regional leaders it is now clear that the grave crimes committed today by the Maduro regime have opened the door to various potential multilateral actions not on the table just 24 hours ago."

Go deeper: Saturday's showdown in Venezuela will test strength of Maduro, Guaidó

Go deeper

Zeta, now a Category 2 Hurricane, makes landfall on Louisiana coast

The probable path of Zeta, per the National Hurricane Center. Photo: NHC/NOAA

Zeta, classified as a "significant" Category 2 hurricane, made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana on Wednesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday. The hurricane is producing 110-mph maximum sustained winds and stronger gusts. The core of Zeta — including its destructive eyewall — moved ashore near Cocodrie.

Supreme Court won't expedite Pennsylvania GOP's request to block mail-in ballot extension

Amy Coney Barrett being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Photo: Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images

The Supreme Court voted 5-3 on Wednesday to deny a bid from Pennsylvania Republicans to expedite their request to shorten the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots. Newly-confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the decision.

Why it matters: A lower court ruling allowing ballots to be counted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 6, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day, will remain in place for now. Conservative Justices Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch wrote in a separate opinion that it's too close to the election to take up the case, but it could still be reviewed after the election if late-arriving ballots make a difference.

25 mins ago - World

Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave

Paris under curfew. Photo: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The coronavirus is still winning: Now even Germany is entering another national lockdown, joined by France.

Why it matters: France has been "overpowered by a second wave,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a nationally televised address today. Macron said the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier" than the first.

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