THE PLOT THICKENS

Mike Pompeo: Russia Talked Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Into Staying Put

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN Tuesday that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was prepared to leave Venezuela today but the Russians had talked him out of it. “He had an airplane on the tarmac, he was ready to leave this morning as we understand it and the Russians indicated he should stay,” Pompeo told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, adding that Maduro was planning on going to Havana. Pompeo did not elaborate on how the U.S. knew Russia had convinced Maduro to stay. When asked what he would tell Maduro, Pomeo said he would tell the leader to “fire up the plane.” “Mr. Maduro understands what will happen if he gets on that airplane... He knows our expectations,” he said. Earlier in the interview, Pompeo told Blitzer there was “no way” Maduro could stay in the country after he “decimated” it. “And so it’s time for him to leave Venezuela,” he said.