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Mulvaney refusing to rule out military action in Venezuela

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency showing a a tank taking part in military exercises at Fort Paramacay in Naguanagua, Carabobo State, Venezuela, on January 27, 2019. (AFP photo)

US President Donald Trump’s acting chief of staff has refused to rule out military action in Venezuela in the midst of a political crisis there.

"I don't think any president of any party who is doing his or her job would be doing the job properly if they took anything off the table," Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” "I think the president of the United States is looking at this extraordinarily closely."

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney follows US President Donald Trump to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House January 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham also said that President Trump brought up the idea of military action in Venezuela in a conversation with him earlier this month.

"Well, you need to go slow on that, that could be problematic," Graham recalled saying to Trump, according to Axios. Trump reportedly replied, "well, I'm surprised, you want to invade everybody.'"

"And I said, 'I don't want to invade everybody, I only want to use the military when our national security interests are threatened,'" Graham added.

Trump has distanced the US from Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro by recognizing opposition figure Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader.

Guaido, who has been serving as the president of the national assembly of Venezuela only since the beginning of this month, has proclaimed himself “interim president” of Venezuela, a claim the US rushed to back.

The United States and some of its European allies have announced that they would recognize the 35-year-old member of the centrist social-democratic Popular Will party as the president of Venezuela if Maduro refuses to hold another election within eight days.

President Maduro rejected the European ultimatum in an interview with CNN Turk aired earlier Sunday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been pushing the United Nations to recognize Guaido as Venezuela's president, an idea in part opposed by Russia and China.

Maduro, 56, was sworn in for his second term on January 10, after a vote marred by an opposition boycott and claims of vote-rigging, leading to protests against him.

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