On Tuesday May 5th, president Jair Bolsonaro confirmed the existence of text messages between him and former Justice minister Sergio Moro, regarding Federal Police(PF) investigations into congressmen from his former party, with which he was elected to the presidency in 2018. In recent statements, confirmed in a deposition given to the Federal Police on Saturday (2nd), the ex-magistrate accused Bolsonaro of trying to intervene inquiries run by the entity.
The president’s most recent reactions came shortly after the release of the former judge’s entire statement, which aired on CNN this Tuesday.
The once Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, confirmed in an almost nine hour long deposition given to the Federal Police(PF) in the city of Curitiba, the accusations he laid out against Jair Bolsonaro’s alleged attempts to interfere in the agency. Moro was the first witness to be heard in the inquiry open by the PF into the allegations, which was authorized by the Supreme Court.
According to the former minister, Bolsonaro said that if he couldn’t replace the superintendent of the PF in Rio de Janeiro he would, “replace the director general and the justice minister himself”.
The replacement the conversation refers to the then Federal Police Director General, Maurício Valeixo, whose firing was the height of the crisis between the head of State and Moro, who quit his job soon after that.
Regardless of this, the president denied, yet again, that he is seeking to interfere in PF investigations. “Never did I ask for an inquiry report. This is a complete lie. I am even ashamed to say this here. He says I asked for this in a ministerial meeting. Why would I ask for something illegal in a ministerial meeting? I don’t ask for illegal things even individually how could I do it in public” said the president, shortly before showing his cellphone to the crowd present, made up of journalists and his supporters.
The highlight of the dispute between the two is the changing of the Rio de Janeiro Federal Police superintendent, undertaken by the new PF director general, Rolando de Souza.
Rio de Janeiro congresswoman Talíria Petrone reacted by saying: “Moro’s deposition makes it clear yet again, that the president would like to have the Rio Federal Police superintendency under his control. What does the Rio de Janeiro PF have that Bolsonaro wants so much? Let’s remember that the former minister is also a crony of this family militia”, she criticized.
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Currently under investigation, the supposed interventions by the head of the executive branch in the Federal Police have lead to an evolving crisis that took another sharp turn on Tuesday (5th): Supreme Court justice Celso de Mello allowed for new testimony related to the accusations.
Acting on the request of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), de Mello allowed for the 8th out of 10 people to testify, among them three Bolsonaro Ministers and long time ally of the president, São Paulo congresswoman Carla Zambelli.
The PGR further asked that depositions from two federal investigators be heard. One of them is Maurício Valeixo, the former Federal Police director General removed by Bolsonaro. The other witness is Alexandre Ramagem, the man the president tried to nominate to the top law enforcement job in the land, but was blocked by the Supreme Court on the request of an opposition party. The reason behind the veto is the personal interest involved in the nomination, seeing that Ramagem is known as a person of trust to the Bolsonaro family, which is interested in halting PF investigations into the clan.
Edited by: Luiza Mançano