Dems use legal pad notes to push back on a South American troop deployment

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A pair of Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday used yellow notepads to denounce the idea of the U.S. sending troops into South America amid increasing political turmoil in Venezuela.

The lawmakers poked at the administration a day after national security adviser John Bolton was spotted holding a yellow legal pad with apparent details about troops being transferred to Colombia while the U.S. announced sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company, PdVSA.

“Since we’re sending cables by legal pad now,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter, with an accompanying image of a notepad that included the message: “President Trump does not have the authority to invade Venezuela!”

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) replied to the tweet with a picture of her own yellow legal pad. The message written on hers said, “Congress = Check & Balance.” 

Photos of Bolton’s legal pad quickly went viral Monday on Twitter, with many users quickly noting that his notes appeared to included the phrase, “5,000 troops to Colombia.” {mosads}

The White House said in a statement afterwards that “all options are on the table” in regards to the escalating political crisis in Venezuela, though three unnamed defense officials told NBC News that no troops or assets were being sent to Venezuela or Colombia despite the words scribbled on Bolton’s legal pad.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Tuesday that he hasn’t discussed possible troop deployment to Colombia with Bolton. He declined to comment on if the Trump administration was considering that as an option.

The Trump administration last week recognized Juan Guaidó, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as Venezuela’s interim president. Several other nations, including Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia, have also endorsed Guaidó.

Election officials have said that President Nicolás Maduro won the most recent election in Venezuela. However, the U.S. and broader international community consider the elections to be a sham. Maduro has meanwhile vowed to hold on to power. 

Tags Donald Trump Gregory Meeks Mary Gay Scanlon

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