An influential Trump administration official secretly met with a representative of Nicolas Maduro’s regime in Mexico City in September to try to negotiate the Venezuelan leader’s peaceful exit from power.
Richard Grenell, the former Acting U.S. director of National Intelligence and ambassador to Germany, and Jorge Rodriguez, a Venezuelan politician who is close to Maduro, met in the Mexican capital, according to four people familiar with the matter. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and the rest of the State Department weren’t told about the trip beforehand, according to two of the people.
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Grenell sought to discuss Maduro’s departure, two of the people said, but it isn’t clear if Rodriguez and Maduro were open to the possibility. In any event, the talks weren’t successful, the people said.
Donald Trump has tried to achieve a number of foreign policy accomplishments before the Nov. 3 election, including the political change in Venezuela.
Rodriguez declined to comment, as did spokespeople for the White House National Security Council and the State Department.