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Leader of Venezuela's National Assembly and interim president, Juan Guaido. Photo: Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela’s National Assembly, controlled by the opposition party, is seeking access to the $3.2 billion of funds it said are being held in U.S. bank accounts from embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s government and has asked 152 banks in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Asia to freeze government accounts, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, whom the U.S. and several countries recognized as the country's interim president, has been leveraging his support from foreign governments to help identify and freeze Venezuela's bank accounts and other assets. Earlier this month, the Bank of England blocked Maduro's request to withdraw about $1.2 billion worth of gold, days after the U.S. government sanctioned Venezuela's state-owned oil company, PDVSA.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

5 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.