Pompeo says Maduro's inner circle looking for exit strategy in Venezuela

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoU.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack U.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE said Monday that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's inner circle is looking for an exit strategy, a sign that the embattled regime's days may be numbered.
 
"We see leaders inside of Maduro's inner circle now trying to figure out what the golden ticket looks like. 'What does it look like if I leave?'" Pompeo told The Hill's Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackOvernight Health Care: Democrats attack after Trump revives talk of ObamaCare replacement | Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control face major obstacles | CVS investing M to fight teen e-cig use Overnight Health Care: Top Trump official privately warned against ObamaCare changes | Drugmakers sue over TV ad rule | Court rules against Trump policy on abortions for undocumented teens Overnight Health Care: Top Trump official privately warned against ObamaCare changes | Drugmakers sue over TV ad rule | Court rules against Trump policy on abortions for undocumented teens MORE at a Newsmaker Series event sponsored by the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies. "When they start asking those questions, surely some of them will decide there are better times ahead not supporting that thug."
 
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The Trump administration has made regime change in Venezuela a top foreign policy priority. The United States was the first of now more than 50 countries to recognize Venezuelan National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the country's interim president.
 
Guaidó was sworn in as president by the opposition in January following Maduro's reelection, which was declared illegitimate by most international observers, including the United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States.
 
Speaking at Monday's event, Pompeo said he hoped China would follow suit in recognizing Guaidó. He also had a warning for Maduro's other allies, like Cuba, Iran and Russia.
 
"You've seen the efforts we've made to try and convince the Cubans, who have hundreds of intelligence officers, thousands of people working with the Maduro regime, to convince them that's not the right foreign policy, that Maduro is going to leave. And when [he] leaves, they're going to be in a far better place if they choose a better path," Pompeo said.
 
"We are making the same case to all the parties that are supporting Maduro," he added.