Venezuela's Maduro says he fears 'bad' people around Trump

Venezuela's Maduro says he fears 'bad' people around Trump

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro said President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE is surrounded by “bad” officials who are advising him during the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in the country.

“I fear the people that are around him,” Maduro told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

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“I think these people surrounding President Trump and advising him on Venezuelan policies are bad, and I think that at one point, President Trump will have to say ‘stop, stop, we have to see what happens with Venezuela,’ and change his politics.”

The comments come a day after the Trump administration ramped up sanctions to pressure Maduro to leave office and allow Juan Guaidó, an opposition leader the U.S. and other world powers recognize as Venezuela’s interim president, to take power. Maduro was sworn in for a second six-year term earlier this year, but the U.S. declared his election illegitimate.

The White House called for a peaceful solution to the leadership battle, which has resulted in violent street demonstrations. However, Trump has maintained that using military force to remove Maduro from power is not off the table. 

Maduro racked through a list of administration officials who he says are providing Trump with faulty advice, including national security adviser John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, the State Department’s point person on Venezuela, former CIA director and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo presses for resolution to Gulf dispute The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight State Department blocks reporters from Pompeo briefing with faith-based media: report MORE and Vice President Pence. 

“John Bolton, an extremist and expert of the Cold War. Elliott Abrams, a liar that trafficked arms and drugs in Central America and the world and brought war to the United States. I fear Mike Pompeo, a CIA agent who has an antiquated scheme of old intelligence from the Cold War. I fear Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump health chief backs needle exchanges in anti-HIV strategy Pence travels to Nebraska to survey flood damage Pence traveling to SC for Graham reelection launch MORE, who is a man who does not know world politics, unaware of Latin American politics,” he said. 

Maduro has not made any indications he intends to abdicate and still has control over the military, a potent factor of the leadership struggle that has helped him officially remain at the country’s helm despite widespread shunning from the international community.