In a private briefing in July 2017 With intelligence officials, President Donald Trump apparently asked why the United States was not at war with Venezuela, pointing out that they had "all this oil and they were right behind us".
If this is true, it calls into question why the president has insisted so much on overthrowing the country's dictator, Nicolás Maduro, and whether he plans to send troops in the future.
This statement appears in a surprisingly neglected passage from a new book by Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI, who notoriously has a difficult relationship with the president.
McCabe details what an FBI agent told him directly after informing Trump. According to McCabe, the president derailed the meeting, which was supposed to involve Russian spies, by making comments that were unrelated to North Korea and other countries.
Then Trump mentioned Venezuela: "This is the country we should be fighting with," Trump said, according to McCabe's stories. "They have all this oil and they are right on our back door."
McCabe explained this in an interview with Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC on Tuesday night: "The words of the president in this room were in line with" I do not understand why we are not watching Venezuela. Why are we not at war with Venezuela? "
There are a few things to note from the start. First, it's not a first-hand story, because McCabe was not in the room with the president when he was supposed to have made that statement; McCabe was informed by another FBI agent who was in the room at the time.
Secondly, it should be remembered that McCabe has a longstanding relationship with Trump. The President has publicly and repeatedly Jill McCabe, Andrew's wife, was reprimanded for receiving support from the Democratic Party of Virginia and a PAC linked to an ally of Hillary Clinton when she ran in the Senate.
And McCabe has certainly had his own problems with the truth: the Inspector General of the Justice Department discovered that he had "been unkind" many times when senior FBI officials questioned him about the actions he was taking. he had conducted during the FBI's investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him after the report was released, just hours before McCabe was about to retire.
Still, McCabe's claim rings true. Here's why.
Looks like Trump wants a war with Venezuela
Trump has already spoken of the war with Venezuela.
In August 2017, Trump regularly questioned his top advisers on a military option to overthrow Maduro and calm the growing political and economic crisis that his mismanagement of the country has provoked, according to reports.
H. McMaster, then Trump's national security adviser, and others repressed Trump's idea, telling him that an invasion would probably not work and that it would turn the regional allies against the United States .
This apparently did not deter Trump.
August 11, 2017 – a day after talking to McMaster about this specific problem – Trump publicly threatened a "military option" for Venezuela while he was chatting with reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. His comments, apparently from nowhere, shocked just about everyone.
And Trump talked about taking oil from other countries where the US military is deployed.
During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly spoke about the seizure of Iraqi oil in areas controlled by the Islamic State. "The winner was part of the loot," he said on September 7, 2016. "One of the benefits we would have had if we had taken oil, is that ISIS does Would not have been able to take oil and use it feed themselves. "
According to McCabe's accounts, it does not appear that Trump explicitly spoke of the invasion of Venezuela for the sole purpose of taking advantage of its large oil reserves for the benefit of America at the July 2017 information meeting. The FBI agent who informed McCabe of the meeting would certainly have conveyed this message if Trump had said so.
But it is possible that Trump had this in mind, in the same way that he previously thought of Iraq. And asked to clarify, the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Trump administration repeatedly repeats that "all options are on the table" with respect to Venezuela, which means that a military option is still achievable. Even if it is unlikely, it seems that the war with Venezuela has been preoccupying the president for years – and perhaps because he wants oil.