We’ve been hearing for a month now that President Trump might declare a national emergency to build the border wall, but that conservatives are opposed to it because it would set a “bad precedent.” Today, the Trump administration used its emergency powers to impose sweeping new sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry to force President Nicolás Maduro from power:
“The White House on Monday announced billions of dollars in new sanctions against disputed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s state-owned oil monopoly PDVSA, less than a week after President Trump formally recognized Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader.
National Security Adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, warned that “all options are on the table” and that Venezuela would face a “significant response” if any harm came to U.S. diplomatic personnel, Guaido, or Venezuela’s opposition-led National Assembly.
Words on Bolton’s notepad that were visible during the briefing — “5,000 troops to Colombia” — were related to the situation in Venezuela, White House officials confirmed to Fox News. One idea being debated may include pre-positioning U.S. forces in Colombia in case they are needed in Venezuela.
The potentially devastating economic sanctions were aimed at increasing pressure on Maduro to cede power to the opposition. …”
“Presidential Message to the Congress on Taking Additional Steps to Address the National Emergency with Respect to Venezuela
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order with respect to Venezuela that takes additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 of March 8, 2015, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13808 of August 24, 2017, Executive Order 13827 of March 19, 2018, Executive Order 13835 of May 21, 2018, and Executive Order 13850 of November 1, 2018. …”
I looked this up after seeing the Alt-Lite talking about it on Twitter.
Sure enough, The International Emergency Economic Powers Act falls under the National Emergencies Act. In other words, the same conservatives like Marco Rubio who oppose declaring a national emergency to build the border wall support one to force regime change in Venezuela. President Obama declared a “national emergency” with respect to Venezuela in 2015.
Note: I know that I said that I was considering pivoting to writing more about history. There will be plenty of that here in February. We’re going to focus on European history this year though.