Trump issues executive order targeting Venezuela

Trump issues executive order targeting Venezuela
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President TrumpDonald John Trump20 weeks out from midterms, Dems and GOP brace for surprises Sessions responds to Nazi comparisons: 'They were keeping the Jews from leaving' Kim Jong Un to visit Beijing this week MORE issued an executive order on Monday prohibiting people in the U.S. from carrying out certain financial transactions with the government of Venezuela.

The executive action prohibits “the purchase of any debt owed to the Government of Venezuela” and any debt owed to the country that is pledged as collateral.

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It also prevents the government of Venezuela from liquidating assets it has a majority ownership of.

“Today’s executive order closes another avenue for corruption that we have observed being used,” a senior administration official told reporters on Monday.

The executive order comes one day after Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro won a second term in an election Vice President Pence and other U.S. officials have called a sham.

“Venezuela’s election was a sham ­— neither free nor fair. The illegitimate result of this fake process is a further blow to the proud democratic tradition of Venezuela,” Pence said in a statement earlier on Monday.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump directs Pentagon to create 'Space Force' | Lawmakers say new branch needs their approval | Senate passes 6B defense policy bill | Pentagon suspends planning for 'war game' with South Korea Pompeo: China's calls for trade openness, globalization 'a joke' A mandate for change in Armenia MORE said in a tweet on Sunday that the Venezuelan “sham elections change nothing.”

Sunday’s election saw significantly low turnout, with more than half of voters not casting ballots.

Nonetheless, Maduro won another six-year term with 68 percent of the vote.

Opposition leaders had called for a boycott of the election to protest the Maduro government.

Venezuela is facing an economic crisis with widespread food and medicine shortages largely attributed to falling oil prices and economic mismanagement.