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 marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K coronavirus deaths DOJ: George Floyd death investigation a 'top priority' Lifting our voices — and votes 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 PompeoChinese lawmakers approve law allowing for stricter crackdown on Hong Kong The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US virus deaths exceed 100,000; Pelosi pulls FISA bill Overnight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for Iran nuclear projects | Top Dems says State working on new Saudi arms sale | 34-year-old Army reservist ID'd as third military COVID-19 death 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 PenceGovernors shouldn't be exempt from the effects of their policies Pence names new press secretary GOP governors jockey to elbow out North Carolina as convention host 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.