Speed Reads

Brazil corruption crisis

Brazilian lawmakers vote to block corruption trial for President Michel Temer

The lower house of Brazil's Congress voted Wednesday to block corruption charges against President Michel Temer, with critics of the embattled president falling far short of the 342 votes needed to suspend him and send him to trial before the Supreme Court. In June, Temer became the first sitting president charged with criminal activity, in this case corruption for allegedly receiving $12 million in bribes including $150,000 from a meatpacking magnate. He has worked hard to shore up his support in the Chamber of Deputies since the charges emerged, channeling $25 million in public funds into lawmakers' pet projects and reshuffling his Cabinet based on which parties in his governing coalition supported him.

In the end, 227 lawmakers voted to suspend Temer and send his case to trial, 263 voted against the measure, and 22 abstained. A recent poll found that 80 percent of Brazilians want Temer tried, and his approval rating sits at about 5 percent. Many lawmakers who voted to spare Temer said they were doing it mostly to stabilize Brazil's economy and government; his predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached last year over alleged budget shenanigans, and last month a judge sentenced popular former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to nine years in prison, a verdict he is appealing.

Temer insists he will stay in office until his term ends in December 2018, though more charges are expected to be filed against him, requiring another vote in Congress.