Despite the health, economic and political crisis in Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro’s best interest is to protect his sons from judicial investigations that link them to various crimes.
In recent months, the Brazilian President has tried up to four times to take control of the Rio de Janeiro Police to block inquiries against his family and relatives.
«You have 27 superintendencies; I only want one: Rio”, said the far-right President in a conversation he had with his then Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, as revealed by some Brazilian media.
From accomplice to enemy
Sergio Moro had threatened to leave the Government if Mauricio Valeixo, his right-hand man, was replaced as director general of the Federal Police. Bolsonaro dismissed him on April 24 and the former Minister of Justice kept his word. That same day, he called a press conference in which he announced his departure from office and warned that the President was pressuring him to have illegal access to intelligence reports and information from ongoing investigations.
At the press conference, he accused Bolsonaro of obstructing and interfering in investigations and of wanting to locate in an autonomous entity, such as the Federal Police, a man he trusted, Commissioner Alexandre Ramagem, whom Bolsonaro appointed in office, although later the decision was overturned by a Supreme Court judge.
The ambitious judge in the Lava Jato case, who jailed – without evidence – former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (who is now free), became Bolsonaro’s main enemy by denouncing him for violating the rule of law, just 16 months after joining his government and been his accomplice in the management of justice and security in Brazil.
Days later, Moro’s accusations led the Attorney General’s Office to open an investigation into the conduct of the Brazilian President.
Thus, if it is concluded that Bolsonaro exerted illegal political pressure, the Prosecutor’s Office should file a formal complaint with the Supreme Court, which in turn should request authorization from the Chamber of Deputies to initiate the corresponding process.
In the event that his accusations are not verified and confirmed, the former minister could be denounced for «slandering» the Head of State of the South American country.
Investigations against Bolsonaro’s sons
In his statements, Moro made public that the President wants to take command of the Rio Police Force, where his family lives, to interfere in the open investigations against three of his children.
«Bolsonaro fears that the police investigations will reach his sons», explained the political analyst of the Casa Rui Barbosa Foundation, Fabio Kerche, quoted by La Vanguardia.
Senator Flavio Bolsonaro – the second of the president’s four male sons – is being investigated by the Rio Police for alleged diversion of public money to benefit far-right paramilitary groups, as well as for money laundering crimes in the Rio real estate sector .
The Federal Police is also investigating federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro and councilman Carlos Bolsonaro for alleged diversion of public funds to finance and direct ‘dirty’ social media campaigns against his political rivals and journalists.
The video that can sink Bolsonaro
Although the President has denied the accusations of his former minister, whom he called «egotistical and opportunistic», there is evidence that Bolsonaro did demand the change of the general direction of the Federal Police in order to avoid problems for his three children and for several of his friends and close associates.
The Attorney General’s Office has a video of a Cabinet meeting in which Bolsonaro threatened to fire Moro if he did not interfere with the Federal Police to have access to possible investigations against his relatives.
«I will not wait for someone in my family to be screwed, I change the entire security sector, I change the boss, I change the minister», said the far-right politician, according to the video that the O Globo network broadcasted. Due to these affirmations, the President could be prosecuted for committing at least four crimes established by the Penal Code.
According to the press, the video belongs to a Cabinet meeting on April 22 and is the main evidence that the attorney general, Augusto Aras, has in the investigation opened by the Federal Supreme Court to determine whether Moro’s resignation as Minister of Justice has to do with Bolsonaro’s particular interests to obstruct justice.
According to Moro’s lawyer, Rodrigo Sánchez Rios, the audiovisual material «fully confirms» the ex-minister’s complaints, and therefore «it is extremely important» that its content, until now under summary secrecy, be disclosed.
After revealing the content of the video, the President reacted and denied any pressure to interfere in the investigations carried out by the Federal Police.
«In that video the word Federal Police does not exist, all that, that the press is mounting is fake news», he sentenced, while defending his constitutional right to appoint the head of the force.
In dialogue with the journalists, he denied the accusations made by Moro after his forced departure from the government and minimized the leaked content of the video of the cabinet meeting, reported República.
However, if sufficient indications are found for a formal accusation, Bolsonaro could be suspended from office for the 180 days that the trial would last and replaced by Vice President Hamilton Mourao, who would also end the mandate that expires on January 1, 2023, if the ruler was found guilty.
The investigation is not the only problem facing the extreme right-wing leader, since the disapproval rate of his government increased twelve percentage points since January and stands at 43.4%, according to a survey released this week by the employers’ Confederación Nacional del Transporte ( CNT).
According to the consultation, 55.4% disapprove of Bolsonaro, against 47% who answered the same in the previous survey, carried out in January. Meanwhile, the approval rate in the new survey is 39.2%, compared to 47.8% in January.
However, the disapproval rate could be worsened by the Government’s disastrous management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to be minimized by Bolsonaro even though the contagion and death curve increases every day without any sign of stopping.
While the coronavirus has infected more than 180,000 people and killed 12,500 in the South American country, the extreme right-wing President is more concerned with trying to block criminal investigations against his sons.