Donald Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, US official says

Trump first floated the idea of sending the USA military to Venezuela during an Oval Office discussion of sanctions against the South American nation.

Eventually, McMaster would pull aside the president and walk him through the dangers of an invasion, the official said.

The previously undisclosed meeting, on which the White House has declined to comment, was anonymously revealed by a senior administration official speaking to AP.

For about five minutes, those assembled - including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster - told Trump that an invasion could backfire and would likely anger Latin American leaders, the official said.

Trump didn't let up and he spoke about military options to remove Maduro the next day then followed it up by raising the issue with Colombia's President.

While some of those around him continued attempts to ignore or dissuade the president, reportedly Trump could not let the idea go and AP cites "two high-ranking Colombian officials" who confirmed that he brought the idea of a military overthrow up with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during a closed-door meeting in August of 2017.

"My staff told me not to say this", Trump said and then asked the other leaders at the table in turn, if they were sure they didn't want a military solution.

Donald Trump reportedly asked senior administration officials and world leaders if the United States could invade Venezuela to bring stability to the country's political crisis.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at a rally in Caracas in May.

Venezuelans have also been fleeing to countries including Brazil, Colombia, Chile, the USA, and Spain.

Trump said publicly in August that a military option was not out of the question for dealing with the Venezuelan crisis, but details of the president's seriousness about the issue had not been reported until Wednesday.

Maduro's son, also named Nicolas, said a year ago: "Mind your own business and solve your own problems, Mr. Trump!" The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for nationwide "anti-imperialist" drills in response to this threat, while Russian Federation denounced any plans of military intervention into the Latin American country as "unacceptable".

Mark Feierstein, who oversaw Latin America on the National Security Council during the Obama administration, said that strident USA action on Venezuela, however commendable, won't loosen Maduro's grip on power if it's not accompanied by pressure from the streets.