At Monday’s press conference on the political crisis in Venezuela, several eagle-eyed reporters spotted scribblings on the notebook White House national security adviser John Bolton held which appeared to say “Afghanistan -> Welcome the Talks,” and “5,000 troops to Colombia.”
So this notepad that National Security Advisor John Bolton was holding today at the White House briefing on Venezuela says:
"Afghanistan -> Welcome the Talks. 5,000 troops to Colombia."
— Rao Komar (@RaoKomar747) January 28, 2019
When asked about Bolton’s notes, a White House spokesman reportedly said, “As the President has said, all options are on the table.”
Three Defense officials later told NBC News that no U.S. troops or assets are heading to Colombia or Venezuela.
No US troops or assets are heading to Colombia or Venezuela, three Defense officials tell @NBCNews, despite the notes seen on NSA Bolton's notepad today – @ckubeNBC https://t.co/t7KdZOdj8k pic.twitter.com/zU3NfxP4G2
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) January 28, 2019
When asked at a press conference whether President Trump would consider sending military forces to help topple Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, Bolton replied that “the president has made it very clear […] that all options are on the table.”
Bolton’s comments come as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin rolled out new sanctions against Maduro and his country’s state-run oil company, in another attempt to weaken him and bolster opposition leader Juan Guaidó.
The United States sided with National Assembly head Juan Guaidó, recognizing him as the country’s legitimate leader. Guaidó declared himself “acting president” Wednesday in a move honored by the U.S. and a number of its allies, but opposed by Maduro and his own partners.
As Washington’s diplomats were expelled from Caracas by Maduro, Bolton warned of a “significant response” against Venezuela should it harm any U.S. citizens.