Speaking to ABC, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that Donald Trump "has his full range of Article 2 authorities", when asked if the US president believes he could intervene militarily in Venezuela without congressional approval.
While emphasising that the US still has a "full scale set of options", Pompeo added that he is fully confident that "any action" the US takes in Venezuela would be "lawful". "So when the situation arises, we are not flat-footed".
NEW: Asked if Trump believes he could intervene militarily in Venezuela without Congress' approval, Mike Pompeo says, "The president has his full range of Article 2 authorities and I'm very confident that any action we took in Venezuela would be lawful" https://t.co/0VRfgJOgdF pic.twitter.com/ksOrZoTF1M— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) 5 мая 2019 г.
In a separate interview aired by Fox News, the US top diplomat reiterated his position on what he describes as the "Russian interference in Venezuela", saying that "the Russians have to get out, that remains our view".
According to him, Washington "wants all other nations out of this country".
Pompeo added that he is aiming to discuss the issue during upcoming negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
According to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow "indicated that the continuation of aggressive steps is fraught with the most serious consequences. Only the Venezuelan people have the right to determine their destiny, for which dialogue between all political forces in the country is needed, and for which the government has long called for".
When commenting on the talks, the Russian foreign minister stated that the positions of Moscow and Washington were "incompatible", adding, however, that the sides had agreed to maintain contacts to discuss the matter.
Two days later, however, Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone to discuss the Venezuelan crisis, with the US president describing the talks as overall "very positive". While Trump said that he "feels the same way" with Putin about the "need for positive developments in Venezuela", his statement appeared to contradict his own senior officials' strong rhetoric concerning Russia's "involvement" in the Latin American state in the wake of the arrival of Russian military experts in the country earlier this spring.
Trump's Phone Talks With Putin
Pompeo has also spoken about the US administration's stance on the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, which found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
While speaking about whether or not Washington was entering a "new phase" in its ties with Moscow following the first phone call with Putin after the release of the Mueller report, Pompeo said "I hope we are".
"We hope we can find places where we can have overlap in our interests", he added.
Following the 90-minute phone call, Trump himself wrote on Twitter that there is "tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia, despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media".
Very good call yesterday with President Putin of Russia. Tremendous potential for a good/great relationship with Russia, despite what you read and see in the Fake News Media. Look how they have misled you on “Russia Collusion.” The World can be a better and safer place. Nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 4 мая 2019 г.
While the Mueller report alleges that Russia attempted to meddle in the 2016 election, Russian officials have said that nothing in the report supports allegations that Moscow interfered in the US political process.