Article 233 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (pdf) is not a valid legal basis for Guaidó himself or for the Venezuelan National Assembly to declare him president. It regulates the procedures in the case that the elected or sitting president “becomes permanently unavailable” which Maduro is obviously not. To cite Article 233 for claiming the presidency is a scam that no court will accept. [Add to that, the National Assembly is sitting unconstitutionally in the first place.]
My impression is that Trump was scammed. It was long evident that he gives little attention to details and does not think things through. Most likely Bolton, Pompeo and Rubio presented him with a three step plan:
Phase 1. Support the self-declared president Guaidó; Phase 2: … (wishful thinking) …; Phase 3: Take half of their oil!
Trump accepted the plan without asking how phase 2 might really play out. I doubt that he knew that it will likely lead to higher gas prices. Nor do I think that he knew that it will likely require a military escalation up to a major war that will take years to finish. He would have known that both will cost him dearly during the next election.
This is similar to Trump’s other genius plan that now leads to the closing of U.S. airports. Phase 1 of that plan was to shut down the U.S. government. Phase 2 foresaw that the Democrats give him money. Phase 3 was the Great Wall on the southern border that would help him to get reelected. That plan also failed because of wishful thinking. It also costs Trump at the polls.
But Trump has now committed himself to both poorly laid out plans and it will be extremely difficult for him to pull back from them. While he may still wiggle out of the domestic embarrassment over his wall, it will be much more difficult to do that on the international stage where he asked many other nations for their support. He is now on the spot and has no decent moves to make. Higher gas prices and a military escalation go against his election promises. His voters will not like either.
Bolton and Pompeo are both experienced politicians and bureaucrats. They likely knew that their plan was deeply flawed and would require much more than Trump would normally commit to. My hunch is that the soon coming mission creep was built into their plan, but that they did not reveal that.
Trump just ruined his presidency by falling for their scheme. How long will it take him to understand that?