Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said in an April cabinet meeting that he needed to change Rio de Janeiro’s chief of the federal police to protect family members under investigation, a person with knowledge of a video of the meeting told Reuters news agency.
The video was shown on Tuesday to investigators looking into accusations by former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who resigned two days after the meeting, alleging Bolsonaro was trying to interfere in law enforcement for personal reasons.
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The fresh evidence in the federal investigation of the president has fanned a political crisis as Bolsonaro comes under pressure over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has eaten away at his popularity.
In the video, the president said his family was being persecuted and he wanted to change the federal police chief in his hometown, or else he would replace the police force’s national director and the justice minister, the source said.
Moro, who watched the video with investigators of the case and his lawyer at a federal police facility in Brasilia, said in a statement that the video confirmed his allegations against the president, calling for the entire tape to be made public.
The former minister, one of Brazil’s most popular figures for his record fighting corruption as a judge, said events following his resignation backed up his account: The national federal police director was replaced and so was the Rio chief.
Bolsonaro told reporters he is not worried about the investigation authorised by the Supreme Court into Moro’s accusations, adding that the federal police had never investigated his family.
He said the words “federal police” did not come up on the recording in question, which he said should have been destroyed.
Obstruction, abuse of power
Bolsanaro said he was concerned about family members’ safety in Rio, after he was stabbed during a 2018 presidential campaign appearance.
After transcribing the video and interviewing ministers involved, Brazil’s prosecutor general will decide whether to charge the president with obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
If the Supreme Court and two-thirds of the lower house of Congress see merit to any charges, Bolsonaro would be suspended from office and would stand trial before the top court.
Bolsonaro has begun to court political power brokers he once decried as corrupt in a bid to survive his worst political crisis since taking office last year on a promise to clean up Brazilian politics.
Support for the right-wing leader has dropped as he has played down the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, a poll released on Tuesday showed. Brazil now has the worst outbreak of any developing nation.
Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, says he has tested positive for the coronavirus
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he has tested positive for the new coronavirus as his country emerges as a hotspot amid the ongoing pandemic. Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, and a court last month ordered him to wear a mask in public. A mask-wearing Mr. Bolsonaro, who had displayed…
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he has tested positive for the new coronavirus as his country emerges as a hotspot amid the ongoing pandemic.
Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus, and a court last month ordered him to wear a mask in public.
A mask-wearing Mr. Bolsonaro, who had displayed illness symptoms in recent days, confirmed to reporters Tuesday morning that the tests “came back positive.”
The 65-year-old president, a conservative populist and a close ally of President Trump, becomes one of the most prominent world leaders to have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized with a severe case earlier this year but has since recovered.
“I’m well, normal,” Mr. Bolsonaro said. “I even want to take a walk around here, but I can’t due to medical recommendations.”
Mr. Bolsonaro is being treated with a combination of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin — a combination Mr. Trump has frequently touted as a potential game-changer in the battle against the coronavirus.
Mr. Trump in May issued a partial travel ban for non-U.S. citizens seeking to re-enter the United States from Brazil.
Brazil has more than 1.6 million positive cases and more than 65,000 coronavirus-related deaths among its population of more than 200 million, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.
Those totals are both the second-most among the official count of countries around the world, behind the United States.
• David Sands contributed to this report.
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Brazil’s Bolsonaro threatens WHO exit: Live coronavirus updates |NationalTribune.com
The World Health Organization (WHO) changed its position on face masks and is now encouraging people to wear them in crowded places, citing anecdotal evidence that supports their value in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. United States President Donald Trump called for a shift in strategy against the coronavirus pandemic to focus resources on…
The World Health Organization (WHO) changed its position on face masks and is now encouraging people to wear them in crowded places, citing anecdotal evidence that supports their value in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
United States President Donald Trump called for a shift in strategy against the coronavirus pandemic to focus resources on protecting “high-risk populations” while calling for a total end to stay-at-home orders in states throughout the country.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull his country out of the WHO, accusing the body of being “partisan” and “political”. With more than 34,000 coronavirus deaths, Brazil now has the third-highest toll in the world.
About 6.7 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 394,000 people have died, including some 109,000 in the United States. More than 2.9 million people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
June 6, Saturday
02:14 GMT – China reports three new COVID-19 cases
China recorded three new confirmed cases of the new coronavirus as of the end of Friday, down from five the day before, the National Health Commission said.
All of the cases were imported, involving travellers arriving from abroad, the NHC said.
The total number of infections in China, where the virus first emerged late last year, stands at 83,030. With no new deaths reported, the death toll remained 4,634.
People wearing face masks cross a street on a bike in Beijing on June 1, 2020 [Noel Celis/ AFP]
02:07 GMT – California to allow pro-sports, day camps
California broadly relaxed its coronavirus-related shutdowns, moving to allow professional sports to be played without audiences and reopen day camps, tribal casinos, museums and zoos as soon as June 12.
The most populous US state will also allow film, television and music production to restart, a key sector of the economy that provides thousands of jobs.
Still not allowed in California are nail salons, tattoo parlors, movie theaters, nightclubs, concert venues, theme parks or higher education, the state’s website showed.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, left, helps pack up lunches to be delivered to needy senior citizens, along with Hot and Cool Cafe co-owner Shana Jenson, second on the left, on June 3, 2020 [Genaro Molina/ Pool via AFP]
01:23 GMT – Brazil’s Supreme Court halts police raids in Rio’s favelas
A Brazilian Supreme Court minister prohibited police raids in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas during the coronavirus pandemic, as criticism of brutal police tactics grows in Latin America’s largest nation.
In the decision, Minister Edson Fachin forbid raids on Brazil’s informal shantytowns “except in absolutely exceptional cases”, which must be preapproved by the state prosecutor’s office.
Rio’s police forces are notoriously violent, having killed over 1,800 people in 2019. In May, police in Rio drew criticism for an operation in which a 14-year-old boy was killed, as well as another shootout in a coronavirus-stricken favela, which drew hundreds into the streets.
Congressman Alessandro Molon, whose Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) filed the suit that resulted in the decision, called the ruling “historic”.
00:39 GMT – Bolsonaro threatens WHO exit
President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull Brazil out of the WHO after the United Nations agency warned governments about the risk of lifting lockdowns before slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking to journalists, Bolsonaro accused the WHO of being “partisan” and “political”. He said Brazil will consider leaving the body unless it ceased to work “without ideological bias”.
Brazil, Mexico coronavirus deaths hit daily record (2:15)
Earlier on Friday, when asked about efforts to loosen social-distancing orders in Brazil despite rising daily death rates and diagnoses, a WHO spokeswoman said a key criteria for lifting lockdowns was slowing transmission.
“The epidemic, the outbreak, in Latin America is deeply, deeply concerning,” Margaret Harris told a news conference in Geneva. She said that among six key criteria for easing quarantines, “one of them is ideally having your transmission declining.”
00:01 GMT – G20 pledges $21bn dollars to fight coronavirus
The Group of 20 (G20) – a bloc whose member nations have the world’s largest economies – has pledged more than $21bn to fight the coronavirus, a statement by the group said early on Saturday.
“The G20, with invited countries, has coordinated the global efforts to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, G20 members and invited countries have pledged over US$21 billion to support funding in global health,” the statement said.
The pledges will be directed towards diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and research and development, the statement added.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
For all the updates from yesterday, June 5, go here.
Bolsonaro aide who met Trump tests positive for COVID-19
A Brazilian government official who attended an official meeting at Donald Trump’s resort in Florida on Saturday and posted a photo of himself standing next to the United States president has tested positive for coronavirus, Brazilian officials said on Thursday. More: Timeline: How the new coronavirus spread Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases? What happens…
A Brazilian government official who attended an official meeting at Donald Trump’s resort in Florida on Saturday and posted a photo of himself standing next to the United States president has tested positive for coronavirus, Brazilian officials said on Thursday.
Timeline: How the new coronavirus spread
Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases?
What happens if you catch the new coronavirus?
In the photo posted on his Instagram account, Fabio Wajngarten, the communication secretary of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, is standing next to Trump wearing a “Make Brazil great again” cap. Vice President Mike Pence was next to Trump.
Asked by Reuters News Agency before reports emerged about Wajngarten’s diagnosis, Brazil’s health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, said Bolsonaro would be monitored if Wajngarten tested positively.
Bolsonaro’s son, Eduardo, later tweeted that his father has been tested for the virus and is awaiting the result, but he is not showing any symptoms.
Trump, meanwhile, said he was not concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus after reports surfaced about the Bolsonaro aide.
“Let’s put it this way: I’m not concerned,” Trump told reporters while meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office.
He said he had heard about the aide’s exposure but that “we did nothing very unusual”.
Trump also said he and Varadkar opted not to shake hands when the Irish leader arrived at the White House for the traditional St Patrick’s Day meeting.
“It’s a very strange feeling,” Trump said of not shaking hands.
On Wednesday, the White House said that Trump had not been tested for the virus. The White House added on Thursday that Trump and Pence had “almost no interactions” with Wajngarten and sees no need for the US leaders to be tested at this time.
Earilier this week, US Representative Matt Gaetz, who was on board Air Force One with the president said he was self-quarantining because he had been in contact with a person who had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Trump has been accused of initially downplaying the threat of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, he announced that he was banning travel to the US from most of Europe beginning on Friday.
There have been more than 126,000 cases of the virus worldwide since its outbreak late last year in China, and over 68,000 people have recovered.
China is the epicentre of the crisis, with most infections and deaths, followed by Italy, Iran and South Korea.
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