By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – With new segments of the secret recordings made by Sergio Machado, former president of Transpetro, being made public, Brazilian politicians are trying to explain comments and restate their commitment to the Lava Jato (Carwash) mega corruption investigation.
President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, tried once again on Thursday to reiterate he took no initiative or made efforts to hinder or obstruct the investigation of the operation Lava jet.
In a note released by the Senate press corps on Thursday, the leader of Brazil’s Upper House said that the Lava Jato investigations ‘are untouchable’ and, no one person could halt federal prosecutors from the inquiries.
Suspended President, Dilma Rousseff, also spoke up on Thursday to deny receiving any irregular payment for her presidential campaign manager, João Santana, stating that all contributions made to her 2014 Presidential campaign were accounted for and approved by the Superior Electoral Board.
In one of the recordings made by Machado with former president José Sarney, Machado states that the plea-bargaining made with officials from construction giant Odebrecht would affect Rousseff directly, since she had contacted the company herself to solicit contributions.
With the release of the secret recordings by Machado last week, Brazilians have been wondering what other political players have been caught on tape admitting to wrongdoing or plotting against the Lava Jato investigations. Last week interim President Michel Temer’s Planning Minister, Romero Jucá, was pressured into stepping down after a recording made by Machado showed him trying to slow down the investigations. This week another set of recordings implicated former president Sarney and President of the Senate, Calheiros.
For many, however, the release of these recordings only makes prosecutors look even further. “It is now a matter of national honor to proceed with the Lava Jato [investigation],” retired Supreme Court Justice Carlos Ayres Britto was quoted by daily O Globo. “Lava Jato today is an objective of the entire country. […] no government, no political bloc, or pact which could prevent the Lava Jato from going forward,” concluded the former justice.