Brazil corruption crisis
Late Monday, Brazil's chief prosecutor, Rodrigo Janot, filed charges accusing embattled President Michel Temer of corruption for allegedly taking a $152,000 bribe, with the promise of $11 million more, from meatpacking magnate Joesley Batista. The charges will likely be weighed by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, where a two-thirds majority would be needed to suspend Temer for up to 180 days while he was put on trial. Temer, who replaced President Dilma Rousseff after she was impeached, is expected to get enough support in the lower house to avoid suspension, though Janot is believed to be preparing further charges, to be filed one at a time, requiring votes on each charge. Brazil has no vice president right now, and if Temer is suspended, House Speaker Rodrigo Maia would take over.
Temer is unpopular — a poll last week found his approval number at a historically low 7 percent, with 76 percent saying he should resign — and members of Congress face elections next year. Temer denies the bribery and other charges — including a taped conversation with Batista that reportedly captures him approving payments for the now-jailed former speaker of the lower house — and often notes that Batista got a generous plea bargain to cooperate with prosecutors. This is the first time a sitting Brazilian president has been charged with a crime.