By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Trying to downplay the effect that corruption charges against dozens of lawmakers and cabinet members may have on his administration, Brazil’s President Michel Temer seems to have opened up another crisis in Brasília.
Temer during a TV interview last weekend, told in detail about how the impeachment process opened up by former Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha against ex-President Dilma Rousseff last year was ‘an act of revenge’ for not obtaining three PT (Worker’s) Party votes in the charges against him (Cunha) in the Ethics Council.
On Monday, however, President Temer, said that even if these processes were rejected by Cunha, the impeachment process would have been installed.
“By the internal bylaws of the Chamber, if the president of the House interferes in the request, there is appeal in the plenary. With the very significant margin of votes seen in the impeachment [trial], evidently if this happened, the issue would go to the plenary and the plenary would authorize the beginning of the impeachment,” said President Temer in another TV interview.
Cunha was eventually impeached from the Chamber of Deputies, charged by federal prosecutors and convicted to fifteen years in prison for corruption and money laundering. He is currently serving his sentence in Curitiba.
The words by the current President led to an immediate reaction by former leader Rousseff and her defense team. Her defense lawyer, José Eduardo Cardozo, filed a petition with the Supreme Court to have President Temer’s interview be included in Rousseff’s defense appeal.
“The words of the current president of the Republic make even more evident and irrefutable the recognition of the misuse of power or misuse of purpose that marked the establishment and development of the process of impeachment promoted,” stated Cardozo in the petition.
Rousseff and her allies have always claimed that the impeachment process was a coup d’état promoted by opposition lawmakers and that she did not commit any crime during her presidency.