Brazil justice minister resigns, accuses Bolsonaro of meddling

Brazil Today 

Brazilian public prosecutor Augusto Aras requested the Supreme Court on Friday to allow the prosecution of accusations brought against President Jair Bolsonaro by the former minister Sergio Moro, his office said. 

Bolsonaro endured the hardest threat to his presidency when his popular justice minister resigned Friday and accused him of possibly illegal involvement in law enforcement, leading to a government's instability trying to tackle an increasingly rising coronavirus epidemic. Moro, who achieved wide public support for jailing crooked officials and entrepreneurs as a prosecutor, claimed he had resigned after Bolsonaro had dismissed Mauricio Valeixo, head of federal police, for personal and political purposes. 

The stunning departure and the so-called 'super minister' accusations is a crushing blow to Bolsonaro, whose reputation had already sunk as a "little cold" to downplay the novel coronavirus. The virus has taken more than 3,600 lives in Brazil, and scientists believe the epidemic is yet to arrive. Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso asked Bolsonaro to back down, although the congressional head of the influential gun lobby-a long-time friend-suggested he might be indicted.

A series of shocking allegations against the president, who has yet to clarify why he wanted Valeixo out, including Moro's soft-spoken speech on live television. The office of the President has not replied to a request for clarification. Bolsonaro said at a 5 pm news conference on Twitter that he will "restore the facts."
Brazil justice minister resigns, accuses Bolsonaro of meddling

Brazilian financial markets fell, with stocks down almost 10 percent before paring losses and the exchange rate falling to a historic low of more than 3 percent. Investors are fearful that the Minister of Economy Paulo Guedes could be the next 'big leader' to resign. Bolsonaro's alarming accusations are likely to subject him to serious financial, and even legal, threats. Moro said Bolsonaro shared worry regarding inquiries at the Supreme Court, without providing any more specifics, and he needed information from his top cop within.

"The president stressed to me, more than once directly, that he needed somebody to be a personal connection, to whom he could call, from whom he could get details, intelligence reports," said Moro. "And truly, it's not the federal police's role to offer that information." Capitao Augusto, head of the Congress gun lobby, which was crucial to the threadable alliance of the president, said this was Bolsonaro's "beginning of the end."

"His situation is becoming rapidly intolerable," Augusto told Reuters, adding that a parliamentary inquiry was likely. "I believe that the first subject to be addressed following this pandemic would be the question of the indictment of the president." The leader of the Brazilian bar association OAB, Felipe Santa Cruz, also stated that the group should "analyze the suspected crimes outlined by Moro." As Moro ended his televised speech, protests were raging throughout Brazil, with protestors pounding pots and pans from their apartments. 

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