Trump’s German ambassador tries to hold secret talks for Venezuela’s presidential exit

A Trump administration official met secretly with a representative of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro last month to negotiate for the leader’s peaceful exit amid the economic crisis in the oil-rich nation.

Richard Grenell, former acting director of National Intelligence in Germany and ambassador in Germany, met Maduro’s colleague and Venezuelan politician George Rodriguez in Mexico City in Bloomberg, citing four sources.

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took his country’s case to the International Criminal Court regarding US sanctions during a press conference at Miraflores’ presidential palace in Caracas. A Trump administration official met with a Maduro ally in September in an effort to negotiate Maduro’s exit from power.

The news outlet said Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, was not aware of the meeting beforehand.

According to Bloomberg, people with information about the meeting were not successful. It is still unclear whether Rodriguez and Maduro were open to leaving Maduro’s office.

Rodriguez, along with a White House National Security Council and State Department spokesman, declined to comment to Bloomberg about the meeting.

Trump’s relations with Maduro have long been fragmented. Tensions escalated earlier this year when a rogue attempt by private contractors, including several former US Special Forces soldiers, failed to kidnap Maduro. Trump has denied any American involvement in the coup.

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Trump did not publicly recognize Maduro as Venezuela’s leader. During his State of the Union address in February, Trump honored Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guedo, who was in attendance.

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