Anthony Davis requests trade, has no plans to sign long-term extension with Pelicans, says agent Rich Paul
Davis is eligible to become a free agent in the summer of 2020
Here's more from Wojnarowski:
"Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship," Paul told ESPN. "Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that's the reason for informing them of this decision now. That's in the best interests of both Anthony's and the organization's future."
The trade deadline is Feb. 7, and according to Wojnarowski's report, the Pelicans have not expressed any interest in trading him midseason. Davis is eligible to become a free agent in the summer of 2020.
After the Pelicans made the playoffs and swept the Trail Blazers last season, it appeared that they might have the means to entice Davis to stay with a supermax extension offer. However, the Pelicans sit 13th in the Western Conference at 22-28 and earlier in the season Davis bemoaned that he has to " " for them to have a chance to win.
The Pelicans are 2-7 in games in which Davis hasn't played, and they're 20-21 with him. Although Davis said mere days ago via Shams Charania that he wasn't at the breaking point to request a trade just yet, instead opting to examine career in the offseason, he hasn't played in the last four games. The Pelicans have dropped three straight.
Although the Lakers are 26-24, ninth in the Western Conference, they're the team generating the most talk around a Davis trade. They have a bevy of young assets that they are reportedly willing to part with to acquire a superstar, and LeBron James. Although the Western Conference is as loaded as ever -- making this far from the path of least resistance -- ever since Davis signed with Paul (James' agent), the Lakers have been cited as a potential destination.
If the Pelicans want to bid their time, they can wait until the offseason when the Celtics can trade for Davis. The Celtics have young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, although Brown has been inconsistent this season. The Celtics, however, can't trade for Davis until July 1, as they traded for Irving as a designated player. NBA teams can only have one designated player on their roster who they traded for at a time.
Davis himself is averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and his PER is 31 this year -- all above his career averages. Davis has been with the Pelicans since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2012. Since then, the team's best finish came last year when they lost in five games to the Warriors in the second series of the postseason.
According to The New York Times' Marc Stein, Davis doesn't have a preferred destination at the moment. However, as Stein notes, with Davis' contract expiring in 2020 he'll have input on where he goes. The team that trades for him must at least believe that they can re-sign with them at the end of this contract, otherwise he may not be worth the king's ransom the Pelicans will command.
According to Stein, Paul said that the Pelicans "haven't said much, but we wanted to do the right thing to let them know by the deadline so they could do what's best for the organization going forward."
The worst-case scenario for the team trading for Davis would be about a year and a half of the superstar. That means that a team in the playoff picture this year and in good shape for next year would be the most likely to want him, even if there is uncertainty about whether or not he would re-sign. The Pelicans have about a week and a half to make a move, unless they opt to wait for the offseason.
Per Wojnarowski, it's expected that nearly every team in the NBA will try to make a move for Davis. The Celtics could even agree to a deal in principle, but it couldn't be completed until July 1. The Lakers and Celtics will likely engage in the most fierce battle for Davis. The 25-year-old Davis is still missing time for a fracture in his finger -- he's expected to miss another week or two -- but teams looking to make a run this year will assume the risk.
Agent: Anthony Davis tells New Orleans that he wants a trade
Anthony Davis wants out of New Orleans.
And the NBA might soon see a blockbuster trade to come together.
The five-time All-Star has told the Pelicans that he wants to be traded to a championship-contending team and will not sign an extension with New Orleans, agent Rich Paul told The Associated Press on Monday.
ESPN first reported Davis' demand to be traded to a contender. It is a move that will resonate around the league, one that will have most — if not all — teams trying to see how they can put together a package good enough for the Pelicans to send Davis their way.
Davis is having the best season of his career, averaging 29.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. He'll almost certainly become a six-time All-Star later this week when the NBA announces the full rosters for this year's game that will be played Feb. 17 in Charlotte.
The Pelicans did not have any immediate comment. They next play Tuesday at Houston.
Davis' future has long been in question. He's an elite superstar on a team that hasn't gotten past the second round of the playoffs since he's been in New Orleans — and in four of his first six full seasons, the Pelicans didn't qualify for the postseason at all. They entered Monday 13th in the Western Conference standings, six games out of the final playoff spot with 32 games remaining.
His telling New Orleans that he wants out is the latest power move by a star player who wants to get traded, following a path now similar to what Kawhi Leonard did when he wanted to be traded by San Antonio and what Paul George did when he decided it was time to move on from Indiana. Telling the Pelicans that he won't re-sign with them provides a blunt message: Move me, or lose me for nothing.
But New Orleans, which controls Davis' contract through the 2019-20 season, has been steadfast for months: The Pelicans have no desire to move their best player, who is in line to sign a $240 million, five-year extension in 2020.
"We're not trading him," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said last month, one of many times he's addressed the topic. "I can say that to the world. We're not going to trade him, no matter what. That's not an option."
Still, trade chatter has ramped up this season, especially after Los Angeles Lakers All-Star LeBron James — who is represented by Paul, just as Davis is — included the New Orleans star on a list of players that he would love to play with. James' comments were construed in some circles as campaigning for Davis.
Boston would almost certainly be a place that makes sense, since the Celtics are a contender and have more than enough assets to make a good deal for New Orleans. But the Celtics cannot trade for Davis under NBA rules until July 1, unless they also trade away Kyrie Irving — which likely won't happen. Irving is a factor because of what's known as the Rose Rule, the one that says NBA teams cannot trade for more than one player who has signed an extension.
The Celtics could sign Irving in July and then trade for Davis. But until then, unless they move Irving, Davis won't be in Boston.
That would point to the Lakers as another possible destination for a trade. The Lakers, right now, aren't necessarily a contender. But they have James, which probably means they're attractive to Davis as well. James shrugged off the notion he did anything illicit, saying it's just common sense that he would like to play with elite players like Davis.
"Come on, guys," James told reporters last month. "It's not rocket science."
A year ago at this time, the Pelicans had perhaps the most dominant frontcourt in the NBA with Davis lining up with DeMarcus Cousins. Then Cousins tore his Achilles, and wound up signing this past summer with Golden State.
It has not been a good month for New Orleans sports fans.
Saints fans are still reeling from a non-call for pass interference last week that played a major role in their team losing the NFC championship game to the Los Angeles Rams and being denied a Super Bowl berth.
And now, the news only gets worse with Davis saying he wants out.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets well-wishers following an appearance with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 7, 2019, at Barnard College in New York.Kathy Willens / AP
WASHINGTON — People close to Hillary Clinton are downplaying a report that the former secretary of state is open to a possible presidential bid in 2020.
After CNN reported that Clinton has told friends she's leaving the door open on a third White House run, a source close to Clinton on Monday splashed cold water on the idea, telling NBC News that it "seems like supportive chatter from people and not much more than that."
It's not the first time Clinton aides and allies have scratched their heads about reports that she was eyeing a political comeback.
The loudest drumbeat of speculation about a Clinton 2020 bid has come from people not in a position to know and who may have ulterior motives in claiming to.
For instance, Mark Penn sparked a flurry of headlines in November when he wrote a column for The Wall Street Journal arguing not only that Clinton should run for president, but that she had already committed to a run.
Penn was once a top strategist for Clinton's 2008 presidential bid, but was banished years ago from her inner orbit after being saddled with much of the blame for her loss. He was not invited back to her 2016 campaign.
More recently, Penn has become a vocal defender of President Donald Trump in the ongoing Russia probe, and a promoter of some of the questionable criticism Trump lodged at Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
Conservative media outlets like Fox News, which continue to cover Clinton closely, have also given oxygen to the renewed 2020 speculation, with some Clinton allies seeing her as too useful of a villain for them to give up.
Whenever asked, Clinton herself has rejected the idea that she would run again. "No, I'm not going to run again," she said more than a year ago, giving a version of an answer she has repeated several times since.
And instead of visiting Iowa or New Hampshire, the former Democratic presidential nominee is currently in Puerto Rico with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, taking in a production of the musical "Hamilton" and supporting their foundation's recovery efforts from hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Still, she has acknowledged recently that she would still "like to be president" — though she proceeded that answer by saying, "no, no," she did not want to run again.
Former Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz steps down as Iran boss after Asian Cup semi-final defeat by Japan
- Queiroz's Iran had been the form team of the tournament in Abu Dhabi
- But they were beaten in the semi-finals by four-times champions Japan
- Japan will play either hosts the United Arab Emirates or Qatar in Friday's final
The former Real Madrid coach had been hoping to deliver Iran's first continental title since 1976 in the United Arab Emirates but Japan scored three second half goals to send them crashing out of the tournament.
'I think the simplest thing to do is to copy the old song: 'and now, the end is here',' the 65-year-old Portuguese said, misquoting the song Frank Sinatra made famous.
Carlos Queiroz stood down as Iran coach following their Asian Cup exit on Monday
Soccer: Clinical Japan stun Iran 3-0 to reach Asian Cup final
Osako headed the first home in the 56th minute and added his second from the penalty spot to help set up a date with either hosts the United Arab Emirates or Qatar in Friday’s final in Abu Dhabi.
Genki Haraguchi put a gloss to the scoreline with a powerful run and shot in stoppage time at the end of the match but the contest was already long decided.
Iran had been the form team of the tournament but their dreams of a ending a 43-year wait for a fourth continental title were left in tatters by the clinical Samurai Blue.
Carlos Queiroz announced in the post-match news conference that his nearly eight-year run as Iran coach, which took in two World Cups, was over.
“I’m happy and proud to say I did it my way.”
Roared on by a noisy majority of the crowd, the Iranians had enjoyed the better of a competitive, if goalless, first half but were completely deflated by Osako’s twin strikes and never looked like fighting their way back into the match.
“We knew it was going to be tough but the players showed great fighting spirit,” said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu.
“I’m happy the players showed that fighting spirit and really went for the win.”
While Iran might have had a case that Morteza Pouraliganji’s arm blocked Takumi Minamino’s cross accidentally for the penalty, the opening goal was down to the sort of lapse of concentration that Queiroz has warned his team against.
Minamino had made a break down the left and crumpled to the floor on the edge of the area looking for a free kick or penalty.
None was forthcoming but while defender Ehsan Hajsafi was asking the referee to book the striker for a dive, Minamino raced to retrieve the ball and crossed it from the corner flag for Osako to head home unchallenged.
“It was very competitive, quite balanced game, until one error by my team, a naive error. We were all expecting action from the referee over the simulation,” said Queiroz.
“It was an emotional breakdown from my players and after that there was only one team on the pitch.”
It was the first goal Iran had conceded in six games at the tournament but winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh came close to equalising five minutes later with a free kick that forced a good save out of Shuichi Gonda.
The second blow landed soon afterwards when the referee pointed to the spot after the ball had struck Pouraliganji on the arm, confirming his decision following a look at the TV pictures on the sideline.
Osako sent goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand the wrong way from the spot and a fifth final in the last eight versions of the continental championship look assured, Haraguchi helping to wrap up their first win by a margin of more than one goal at the tournament.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Pritha Sarkar
AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Japan benefited from a controversial penalty as they sent favorites Iran crashing 3-0 in the Asian Cup semi-finals to move within one win of a record-extending fifth title on Monday.
Yuya Osako put Japan 1-0 up after half-time but it was his penalty shortly afterward, awarded following a video review, that knocked the stuffing out of Iran.
Takumi Minamino’s cross hit Morteza Pouraliganji’s arm as he slid in, but Australian referee Chris Beath blew for the spot-kick and stood by his decision after watching a replay.
Osako stroked home the spot kick to give Japan a 2-0 lead with 23 minutes to play, and there was no coming back for Iran whose 43-year wait for a fourth Asian title goes on.
Genki Haraguchi then scored in stoppage time to complete a rout which had been wholly unexpected after Japan’s unimpressive performances previously in the competition.
Carlos Queiroz’s Iranian side scored 12 unanswered goals on the way to the last four but they lacked ideas against a calm Japanese team who seized their opportunities.
At a rocking Hazza Bin Stadium, Iran lobbed balls at target man Sardar Azmoun at every opportunity but it was Japan who looked the biggest threat in the opening exchanges.
Captain Maya Yoshida headed over and Ritsu Doan saw a shot trickle wide as the Samurai Blue were anything but cowed by the physical Iran presence.
However, Shuichi Gonda had to be sharp to keep out Azmoun from a tight angle — after the goalkeeper had gifted Iran possession with a botched clearance.
The game was on a knife-edge but a misjudgement from Iranian defender Hossein Kanani tilted it Japan’s way 11 minutes after half-time.
While Kanani was protesting his innocence over an edge-of-the-box challenge, Minamino played on and crossed to Osako, whose glancing header put Japan ahead.
It was a body-blow for Iran, but worse was to come when Pouraliganji was adjudged to have handled in the box, a decision that could have gone either way.
Osako stuck it away to all but silence the Iranian support, who then had to watch as Haraguchi stole in for the third goal to make it a lopsided victory for Japan.
However, Japan will be buoyed by their best performance of the tournament so far, and they now take a 100 percent record into Friday’s final against Qatar or hosts the United Arab Emirates.
The following is an unedited press release from the governor's office:
MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey has issued a State of Emergency effective at 3:00 p.m. Monday for all Alabama counties in preparation for potential winter weather. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning and Winter Weather Advisory for a large portion of Alabama in anticipation of rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.
By declaring a State of Emergency, Governor Ivey is directing the activation of the Alabama Emergency Operations Center in Clanton and the Alabama National Guard to assist with emergency transportation needs. Governor Ivey is also directing the appropriate state agencies to exercise their statutory authority to assist communities and entities affected by the winter storm.
“This winter storm has the potential to affect a large portion of our state. Citizens in the northern half of the state should be especially mindful of the changing weather conditions,” Governor Ivey said. “Travel conditions could be negatively impacted Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Please avoid travel if possible and be very careful if you do have to get out on the roadways.”
Motorists are encouraged to use extreme caution while driving, check road conditions before departing, allow for increased travel times, and adjust arrival and departure times accordingly. Motorists are also urged to limit travel to emergency travel only. As always, keep an emergency supply kit in your vehicle with a blanket, a few bottles of water, snacks, phone charger, and a first aid kit.
“Now is a good time to prepare for the inclement conditions winter weather may bring in the coming days,” Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director, Brian Hastings said. “Although the storm is fast-moving with short but heavy bursts of snow fall, it is the freezing temperatures after the front passage and especially at night that will create dangerous driving conditions where residual water on roadways freezes.”
For real-time road conditions, the Alabama Department of Transportation is encouraging individuals to visit algotraffic.com.
You can text “ALALERT” to 888777 to receive information for winter weather affects from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
Suggestions on how to prepare for winter can be found at http://ema.alabama.gov and on Twitter by following @AlabamaEMA. Preparedness information can also be found at www.ready.gov or by following Ready Alabama on Twitter at @readyalabama.
ALABAMA – Governor Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency effective 3 p.m. Monday for all counties in the path of potential winter weather.
This declaration allows the Alabama National Guard to assist with emergency transportation needs, and directs appropriate state agencies to assist communities and groups affected by the winter weather.
Anybody driving in the storm is advised to use extreme caution while driving, allow for increased travel times, check road conditions, and limit their travel to emergency travel only. Motorists are also advised to keep an emergency supply kit in their vehicle with a blanket, few bottles of water, snacks, phone charger, and first aid kit.
In a news release, Ivey advised North Alabama to stay up to date on the weather.
“Citizens in the northern half of the state should be especially mindful of the changing weather conditions,” she stated. “Travel conditions could be negatively impacted Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.”
Cyrus — decked out in custom earrings featuring the cover of DeGeneres’ famous Time magazine “coming out” cover from 1997 — belted the electro-folk anthem in her signature rasp against a backdrop of pink and blue lights. Ronson stood stoically at her side, fingerpicking the song’s central acoustic guitar riff.
The host joined the duo after the performance, praising Cyrus’ “insane” voice and hyping the “genius” Ronson’s numerous award wins and nominations. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow,” which Ronson co-wrote for their film A Star Is Born, already won Best Original Song at the 2019 Golden Globes and is up for an Oscar and four Grammys. “Electricity,” his Silk City collaboration with Diplo and Dua Lipa, is nominated for the Grammys’ Best Dance Recording.
“Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” will appear on Ronson’s upcoming fifth LP, due out later in 2019.
Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photobank
Miley belted out the funky chords and Ronson strummed the acoustic guitar like a madman while bright pink and blue neon lights flashed angrily in the background. But the most memorable aspect of the performance was Miley’s enormous earrings; they featured a picture of Ellen’s famous “Yep, I'm Gay” cover for Time magazine in 1997. The entire performance is the kind of gift that we all can only dream of.
“Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” will appear on Ronson’s forthcoming fifth studio album, Late Night Feelings. If you dug this Ronson and Cyrus performance, you should check out when the duo hit Saturday Night Liveback in December. Ronson and Cyrus together, on any track, for any performance, create a mesmerizing experience.
On Monday, it was announced that Irving will executive produce and join the cast of an untitled film that tells the story of Oklahoma City's Skirvin Hotel. The inn that first opened in 1911 is rumored to be an epicenter of paranormal activity. Yet still, the hotel is frequented by many NBA teams traveling to the city for games. This has led some players to refuse to stay at the Skirvin and others to have otherworldly encounters. Irving falls in the latter category, which drew him to the project.
"Having had my own interesting experiences at the Skirvin Hotel, I connected with this idea immediately," Irving told Variety. The Players' Tribune and Sanjay Sharma will oversee its creation. In addition, Irving will receive assistance from Imagine Entertainment chairmen Brian Grazer and Bobby Cohen.
According to the legends, the Skirvin hauntings began in the 1930s when a mistress of the hotel's owner died. Now it is alleged that her spirit stalks the grounds with multiple sources claiming to have encountered her presence. Because of this, Imagine Studios has penned an upcoming article in the Players' Tribune where several NBA stars detail their supernatural experiences.
Kyrie Irving Set To Star In Haunted Hotel Movie
(St. Paul, MN) -- Governor Walz is considering a shift away from referendums as a means for funding Minnesota schools. Walz is finalizing his first budget and wants to put more responsibility on the state to fund Minnesota's schools. He hasn't released the specifics of his plan but says it will include the groundwork for a movement away from bonding and operating referendums.
Good morning and welcome to a wintery Monday. It’s going to take more than some snow and cold to keep us from delivering your Digest.
1. A move to shift school funding. Gov. Tim Walz is aiming to overhaul the way Minnesota funds its schools, putting more responsibility on the state and making local referendums “either rare or extinct.” As he finalizes his first budget, the DFL governor said he’s focused on reversing what he sees as a disturbing trend: a leveling off in state support for education that’s putting more pressure on local funding, and widening gaps between wealthy and poor, metro and greater Minnesota schools. Walz declined to release the specifics of his plan. But he said his budget — due by Feb. 19 — will include several proposals that would “start to set the groundwork” for a shift away from the bonding and operating referendums that currently add up to more than $1.6 billion in school funding each year. (Star Tribune)
2. Minnesota’s new ed chief. It’s not hard to understand Mary Cathryn Ricker’s attraction to teaching. It’s in her blood. Her father and grandfather both taught school on Minnesota’s Iron Range. She can remember watching her father mentor and inspire students on community service trips. Becoming a third-generation teacher seemed like destiny. “Watching my dad interact with [students] and watching them interact with my dad, and this respectful rapport they had with each other,” said Ricker, “it showed me the world of opportunity that is in teaching and in meeting the needs of kids.” (MPR News)
3. Craig meets with constituents. Border security and immigration policy didn’t play a huge role in last fall’s election in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District — but they were front and center on Saturday as Rep. Angie Craig faced her constituents in a public forum for the first time since she took office. Several hundred people gathered in Burnsville for Craig’s first town hall since being sworn in as a U.S. representative earlier in the month — one of 85 new members of Congress. (MPR News)
4. Constitutional changes under consideration. Several Minnesota lawmakers think the state constitution needs an update. The 2019 legislative session is not even a month old, but there’s already a handful of bills in the Minnesota House and Senate to amend the state’s founding document. Several of them deal with enshrining gender equality in the state’s legal framework. The rest would make marijuana legal, protect against unwarranted digital searches, cut the size of the Legislature and impose term limits on those elected to serve there. (Pioneer Press)
5. Can rapid transit win support where traditional bus lines haven’t? Nearly three years after the $27 million A Line made its debut, Metro Transit has big plans to expand its rapid bus fleet — a strategy seen as both economical and politically palatable. It’s also popular with riders at a time when local bus ridership is down in the Twin Cities and nationwide. A second rapid bus called the C Line, which will include Metro Transit’s first electric buses, is slated to begin passenger service later this year, serving north Minneapolis and the northern suburbs. And the Metropolitan Council will ask state lawmakers this session for funds to help build the $75 million D Line, which will largely replace the Route 5 local bus, the busiest transit thoroughfare in the state. The council estimates it will take $400 million to $500 million from various sources to build out a system of 11 rapid bus lines. In recent years, Republican lawmakers at the Capitol have looked askance at the regional planning body’s funding requests for transit, particularly light rail. But arterial rapid buses seem to be a mode that both parties support, at least for now. (Star Tribune)
By Corina Pons and Marianna Parraga
CARACAS/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido said on Monday he has ordered congress to begin the process of naming new boards of directors to state oil company PDVSA and U.S. refining subsidiary Citgo.
Guaido's team of advisers was rushing to take control of the country's main foreign asset, U.S. refiner Citgo Petroleum, before a potential bond default that could leave half the company in creditors' hands, sources close to the talks told Reuters on Monday.
Guaido, who proclaimed himself president last week and has not yet appointed a cabinet, faces the intricate legal challenge of nominating new leadership for PDVSA, the state-owned oil and natural gas company, and its subsidiaries, including Citgo, who would manage the companies during a transition.
It comes as the United States announced new sanctions on PDVSA that involve limiting PDVSA's transactions with people in the United States, although U.S. refineries can still import Venezuelan oil, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Monday.
Guaido, who runs the opposition-controlled congress, claimed Venezuela's presidency last week after President Nicolas Maduro was re-elected last year in a vote widely considered a sham. The United States and numerous nations in the hemisphere recognised Guaido as the president but Maduro still controls the military and PDVSA. [L1N1ZQ0E9]
Holders of Venezuela's most watched PDVSA bonds, which mature in 2020, are due a $72 million interest payment in late April. Those bonds are collateralised with 50.1 percent of Citgo Holdings' equity, meaning in the absence of a payment, creditors could seize control of the company.
Without sources of revenue and control of foreign assets, Guaido's team faces long odds in succeeding, despite massive protests against Maduro's regime due to an economic crisis that has caused millions to flee the country. Many people are starving while inflation has skyrocketed and left basic goods unaffordable.
The United States imposed sanctions on Venezuela in 2017 that have prevented Citgo from repatriating dividends to its parent company. It had about $500 million in cash at the end of September, according to a creditor who spoke to Reuters last week, and $900 million in available credit.
Citgo separately faces a July deadline to refinance its revolving credit, a task that could be delayed due to sanctions affecting the subsidiary's ability to access to credit.
(Reporting by Corina Pons and Marianna Parraga; Writing by Cynthia Osterman; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Bill Trott)
(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration dealt its toughest blow yet to the authoritarian Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, issuing new sanctions on the nation’s state-owned oil company PDVSA that effectively block his regime from exporting crude to the U.S.
The move ratchets up pressure on Maduro to resign and cede power to National Assembly leader Juan Guaido by cutting off the regime from the market where it gets the bulk of its cash. The U.S. and other countries recognized Guaido last week as Venezuela’s rightful president, and he said Monday he would take control of Venezuelan accounts abroad and appoint new boards to PDVSA and its Houston-based subsidiary Citgo Petroleum.
U.S. President Donald Trump assailed Maduro in a letter to Congress explaining an executive order he issued sanctioning PDVSA and Venezuela’s central bank. The action would bolster Guaido, he said, while accusing Maduro’s regime of “human rights violations and abuses in response to anti-Maduro protests, arbitrary arrest and detention of anti‑Maduro protesters, curtailment of press freedom, harassment of political opponents, and continued attempts to undermine” Guaido’s government-in-waiting.
“The U.S. is holding accountable those responsible for Venezuela’s tragic decline,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.
Maduro and Guaido, a 35-year-old engineer-turned-lawmaker, are now locked in a struggle for support in the streets, the military and the country’s mainstay oil industry. Guaido so far hasn’t been able to sway the armed forces to his side but he’s tapped deep public discontent with an economy beset by hyperinflation spiraling at an annual rate of about 225,000 percent and vast shortages of food and medicine.
National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters at the White House that Trump’s action would block $7 billion in Venezuelan assets and reduce the country’s exports by $11 billion over the next year, though Maduro is sure to attempt to sell PDVSA’s crude elsewhere. Bolton urged Venezuela’s military to accept a peaceful transfer of power to Guaido.
Mnuchin said that Citgo would be able to continue to operate but won’t be allowed to remit money to the Maduro regime. Its proceeds must instead be held in blocked U.S. accounts.
The Treasury secretary added that in the “short term” he expects “modest” impact on U.S. refineries. He noted the sanctions wouldn’t affect oil already purchased that is being shipped, and said he didn’t expect U.S. gas prices to rise.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures were little changed at $52.16 a barrel after the announcement, after settling $1.70 lower on the day.
As of Monday, all PDVSA assets and property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, according to a Treasury statement, and U.S. citizens and companies are generally prohibited from doing business with the Venezuelan firm. The move is consistent with the Trump administration’s efforts to starve Maduro of oil money, while still blunting the potential impact on U.S. refiners and U.S. motorists, said Jim Lucier, managing director of Washington, D.C.-based Capital Alpha Partners.
The administration is using “a scalpel, rather than a meat ax,” he said in an email.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio praised the sanctions in a statement released before they were announced.
“The Maduro crime family has used PDVSA to buy and keep the support of many military leaders,” Rubio said. “The oil belongs to the Venezuelan people, and therefore the money PDVSA earns from its export will now be returned to the people through their legitimate constitutional government.”
The Florida Republican represents a large Venezuela expatriate community and is a vocal opponent of the Maduro regime, which the U.S. declared illegitimate last week.
But Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the Trump administration should brief Congress on its moves against Maduro. He praised U.S. efforts to “support the restoration of democracy in Venezuela” but said “there are more questions than answers about the administration’s strategy.”
The sanctions would be the latest move in Trump’s campaign oust the leftist regime of Maduro, who succeeded the late President Hugo Chavez in 2013.
PDVSA has been moving away from dollar-denominated transactions in the past couple of years, since the Trump administration announced financial sanctions in August 2017. The company sells oil to clients in the U.S., Europe and Asia and requires payment in euros, and buys gasoline and diesel for payment in euros as well.