Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin just announced that the US would be sanctioning Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.
Mnuchin said the sanctions would be effective “immediately” and that any purchases of Venezuelan oil by US entities will have all money go into blocked accounts.
Mnuchin said PsVSA is only hearing about it now, although Senator Marco Rubio made a statement praising the sanctions earlier today.
In an accompanying release sent to reporters as he spoke, Mnuchin said the sanctions would "help prevent further diverting of Venezuela’s assets by [Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro] and preserve these assets for the people of Venezuela."
National Security adviser John Bolton addressed reporters in the White House briefing room to discuss Venezuela.
He urged all "responsible nations" to recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
Last week, President Trump recognized Guaido as Venezuela's leader as violent protests swept the country.
As Bolton was giving his remarks, the White House released the text of an executive order addressing the situation in Venezuela, and the Treasury department announced new sanctions.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will take reporters' questions at 3:30 p.m. ET today.
Here are some we're expecting to come up:
- On the shutdown: Trump signed a measure last week to reopen the government until Feb. 15. Does the President think he can reach a deal with Democrats in that time, or is he expecting the government to close again?
- On the wall: Trump's long-promised border wall has been a major sticking point in shutdown negotiations. How much money is he expecting in any new shutdown deal?
- On the State of the Union: Now that the government is open, when does the President expect to give his State of the Union address?
- On Roger Stone: President Trump's longtime associate was indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. Does the President still believe the special counsel's investigation is a "witch hunt"?
- On Venezuela: Trump has recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela. Does the US have any plans to take action against the nation's current regime?
- On Trump's attorney general nominee: Does the White House expect William Barr to be confirmed?
- On the disappearing press briefings: Trump tweeted last week that he directed his press to stop holding regular briefings because “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.” Did the President really give you this order?
Today’s White House briefing will be the first in 41 days, ending the longest stretch with no briefing in the Trump administration.
For context: The previous record for the administration was 29 days without a briefing.
Last week Trump claimed on Twitter that he directed press secretary Sarah Sanders to stop holding regular briefings because “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.”
And if you're wondering about that Jan. 3 "briefing": The White House advertised a briefing that day — and that did mark President Trump’s first real visit to the briefing room.
However, Trump only made a statement and took no questions.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will hold a briefing this afternoon — the first one in 41 days. The the last press briefing was on Dec. 18, back before the longest government shutdown ever and back when Republicans controlled the US House.
In short, a lot has happened in those nearly six weeks.
Here's a look at some of the most notable events in Washington since the last briefing:
- Dec. 19: Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan gives his farewell address.
- Dec. 21: Funding for parts of the government runs out, and those departments shut down at midnight.
- Dec. 26: President Trump and the first lady visit troops in Iraq.
- Jan. 3: The 116th Congress convenes and Democrats take control of the House.
- Also on Jan. 3: New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invites Trump to deliver the State of the Union address on Jan. 29.
- Jan 11: Furloughed federal employees miss their first paycheck.
- Jan. 12: The government shutdown enters its 22nd day, officially becoming the longest in US history.
- Jan 15: The Senate conformation hearing for President Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, begins.
- Jan. 16: Pelosi asks President Trump to delay his State of the Union speech until the government is reopened.
- Jan 19: President Trump offers Democrats a deal to reopen the government (it's quickly shot down).
- Jan. 23: President Trump recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela amid violent protests in the nation.
- Also on Jan. 23: Nancy Pelosi effectively disinvites Trump from giving his State of the Union address. Later, Trump agrees to postpone it until after the government shutdown is over.
- Jan. 25: Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone is indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller
- Also on Jan. 25: Trump announces a deal to reopen the government for three weeks. The House and Senate pass it later that day, and the President signs it that night.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will hold a White House press briefing at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The last time we saw Sanders in the briefing room was Jan. 3, when she appeared alongside President Trump. While the White House called it a briefing, neither Sanders nor Trump took questions.