It is the first time an incumbent president has been formally charged with corruption in Brazil.
The Attorney General has said that, without a doubt, Brazil’s president Michel Temer has committed crimes of corruption. Instead, the speaker of the House-President of the Chamber of Deputies-is a member of the Democratic Party (a different group from the PMDB), Rodrigo Maia. The president noted that a former aide to the prosecutor is making “millions” working with the law firm representing the company at the center of the accusations against Temer.
That third party, former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, is considered the architect of Rousseff’s impeachment and is now serving time for his part in the scheme known as “Operation Car Wash”, in which dozens of Brazilian politicians were pocketing cash from overcharged projects commissioned by state-run oil corporation Petrobras.
However, Temer’s aides say they are confident he has sufficient support in the scandal-plagued Congress – where dozens of lawmakers have been caught up in the same sweeping graft probe – to get the charge thrown out.
Temer is also under investigation for obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy, and Janot is expected to file those charges in the coming days.
One of his strongest comments Tuesday, stating “I don’t know how God put me here”, immediately came in for withering mockery on social media, with memes juxtaposing the words alongside comic photos such as a cow stuck on a telegraph pole.
Few people showed up at the reception at Brazil’s embassy in Moscow, no top Norwegian officials welcomed Temer at Oslo’s airport and the country’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, gave Temer a public lecture about the colossal “Car Wash” investigation that has upended Brazilian politics and could even jail Temer and several of his Cabinet ministers.
Since taking office, Mr Temer has led a market-friendly government which has tried to implement unpopular labour and pension reforms that, he says, are vital for Brazil’s economic recovery.
The president has yet to respond officially to the indictment. The benchmark Bovespa fell 0.9 percent, while the Brazilian real currency was down about the same rate against the dollar.
Many observers think Congress won’t force him out.
Temer has denied the allegations and said he will not resign, but will instead fight the charges. As a sitting president, only the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the country’s highest court, can try or jail Temer. She was impeached and removed from office in August 2016.
Temer’s latest approval ratings are just seven percent, lower than his deeply unpopular leftist predecessor Dilma Rousseff whom he replaced previous year after she was impeached by his center-right congressional allies for breaking budgetary rules.