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Eliot Engel, House chairman: U.S. military action in Venezuela ‘not an option’

February 13, 2019 GMT

The U.S. military will not be intervening in Venezuela any time soon, according to the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Eliot Engel, New York Democrat, declared flatly at the opening of a hearing with President Trump’s special envoy on the crisis that “Congress would not support military intervention in Venezuela.”

“I want to make clear to our witnesses and to anyone else watching: U.S. military intervention is not an option,” the chairman said in his opening remarks.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee was hearing testimony from U.S. special representative, Elliott Abrams.

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Meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque in the Oval Office, President Trump was harshly critical of socialist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro but vague about what diplomatic and military options he was considering to drive him from office. Asked if he would consider U.S. military action, Mr. Trump said he will “look at all options.”

“I never talk about that,” he told reporters.

Republican lawmakers have joined Mr. Trump in maintaining that U.S. military intervention in Venezuela is still on the table under certain scenarios.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe said Tuesday that if Russia were to station weapons in Venezuela, “we’d have to, not go to war, but use force. ... It may be to the point that we would have to intervene.”

Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

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