Trump administration to designate Venezuela as state sponsor of terrorism and charge President Maduro, sources say

The Trump administration is expected to designate Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism as soon as Thursday and bring charges against the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro, according to five sources familiar with the situation, in a momentous move that will mark a modern low point in relations between the US and the ailing socialist state.

The designation puts Venezuela in the company of only four other countries — North Korea, Iran, Sudan and Syria — that have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” and will enable the US government to implement further crippling sanctions on the Maduro regime.

Prosecutors from the US Department of Justice are also expected to unseal criminal charges against Maduro and senior leaders from his government, the sources said. It’s unclear what specific crimes they are being accused of, but the sources said they were related to the country’s extensive drug trafficking efforts.

Attorney General William Barr is expected to announce the designation and charges at a news conference Thursday morning. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment, and CNN has reached out to the State Department, who officially makes the terrorism designation.

This story is breaking and will be updated.