Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Unpublished footage obtained by the New York Times contradicts claims by the Trump administration that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was responsible for lighting a convoy of humanitarian aid on fire.

The big picture: The Times notes that Vice President Mike Pence, national security Adviser John Bolton and Sen. Marco Rubio had all referenced the burning of the trucks in their continued condemnation of the Maduro regime, with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó joining in as well. But the new video suggests it was an errant Molotov cocktail thrown by an anti-government protestor that accidentally lit one of the trucks on fire.

  • Maduro did, however, order a military blockade to prevent the aid from being delivered, which ultimately led to the violent confrontation. When contacted by the Times, the National Security Council issued a toned-down statement saying, "Maduro is responsible for creating the conditions for violence."
  • The Times also notes that Maduro has lied about the desperate humanitarian conditions in his country, denying there are any food or medicine shortages at all. More than 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country as a result of the crisis.

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Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
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