- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas suggested Tuesday that White House national security adviser John R. Bolton wasn’t being careless when he flashed a handwritten note stating “5,000 troops to Colombia” at a press conference about the crisis in Venezuela.

“It’s interesting that Ambassador Bolton walked in with his yellow pad facing out,” Mr. Cotton told radio host Hugh Hewitt. “That was an interesting moment. I’ll leave it at that.”

Mr. Hewitt said of Mr. Bolton, “He doesn’t make many casual moves.”

During the White House news conference Monday about sanctions against Venezuela, Mr. Bolton held a lined yellow legal pad. The notation about troops to Colombia was clearly visible to news cameras.

Colombia shares a border with Venezuela. The administration has said that all options are “on the table,” including a possible military response, to the embattled government of President Nicolas Maduro, whom the U.S. doesn’t recognize as the country’s legitimate leader.

Mr. Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has discussed the situation with President Trump, said military intervention is “never advisable as a first step.”

“But it’s something that always has to remain a possibility as an instrument of our national power to protect our interests and the interests of our allies,” he said. “Nicolas Maduro knows that, especially to protect the tens of thousands of American citizens that we currently have in Venezuela.”

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