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Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (L) and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó. Photos: Yuri Cortez, Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

The White House is making Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro and members of his inner circle an offer: accept amnesty from National Assembly President Juan Guaidó and move somewhere nice or dig in your heels and face the consequences, Dave Lawler reports in Thursday's Axios World.

What to watch: The official said the administration is focused "100%" on preparing humanitarian aid to be delivered once Maduro is out of the way. Dave asked whether there were any discussions about sending troops to Colombia (based on John Bolton's notepad) and got a lengthy non-denial.

My thought bubble: The opportunity for Maduro to take a king's ransom and live on "a nice beach somewhere" has been on the table for years. The Organization of American States would have gladly financed such a package prior to Donald Trump's election, and Trump has been pushing for Maduro's ouster since he became president.

  • The problem is that Maduro does not live in reality, where he is despised around the world and opposed by 80% of his own people. He sees only his still-attended pep rallies where he blames American imperialism for all the country's problems.
  • He also continues to hold support from Cuban intelligence, Russian military, Chinese financiers, drug traffickers and his recently created Constituent Assembly packed with family members and friends.
  • The military option echoes Iraq in its thinking. Despite general disdain for Maduro, Chavismo and socialism remain popular in Venezuela, and Americans are unlikely to be greeted as liberators if they invade.

What's changed: With U.S. sanctions on oil, about half of Maduro's revenue will be cut and he will likely have to call on more support from Russia, Cuba and China.

Yes, but: Maduro's money supply has been draining for years, as he lost the ability to issue new debt and oil production sank to historic lows, yet he's continued to find ways to cling to power.

Go deeper: Bond markets are driving the global split on Venezuela

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”