Obama administration denies allegations of plot against Venezuela after filmmaker's arrest

Tracy's family told The Associated Press that Tracy had been in the country shooting a documentary. He was arrested at the Caracas airport as he tried to leave the country.

The arrest comes as the Obama administration has called for a recount of Maduro's election and declined to attend his inauguration two weeks ago. Some lawmakers are urging Obama not to recognize the new government unless allegations of electoral fraud are sorted out.

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes Top Dems demand answers from Trump over legality of Syria strikes New York seeks authority to prosecute despite presidential pardons MORE (D-Calif.), chairman of the Freedom of the Press Caucus, called the arrest "an unsettling indication that Hugo Chavez' intolerance of press freedom has survived his death."

"The charge, reportedly personally approved by President Nicolas Maduro, that Mr. Tracy is  ‘creating violence in the cities of this country,’ is ludicrous on its face," Schiff said in a statement. "The Venezuelan government should release Mr. Tracy immediately and allow him to leave the country without further hindrance.”