© Provided by the Associated Press
This May 17, 2020 file photo shows President Jair Bolsonaro touching his mask to protect himself from the coronavirus during a protest against the Federal Supreme Court and National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil. (AP Photo / André Borges, file)
SAO PAULO (AP) – A blasphemous video in which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he is frustrated by his inability to obtain police information and promises to change cabinet ministers if necessary to protect his family was released on Friday by order of a Federal Supreme Court judge, a further blow to the president whose popularity has been declining.
The two-hour video of a cabinet meeting, with parts censored, was released as part of an investigation into allegations that the president was unduly trying to interfere with the federal police, an allegation raised by former Justice Minister Sérgio Moro when resigned last month.
Moro told investigators Bolsonaro openly demanded that he make changes to key positions in the federal police, including the head of the agency as a whole. The former minister resigned after the president fired the director general of the federal police without consulting him.
Bolsonaro has denied inappropriate pressure, and insisted that his comments were misinterpreted.
The video shows the president complaining: “I already tried to change our security in Rio de Janeiro and I couldn’t. That ended. I’m not going to wait (for them) (blasphemy) for all my family just for fun, or for a friend of mine. ”
Bolsonaro has insisted that he was referring to the head of his security service, although in fact he had successfully replaced him shortly before. Moro said he was referring to the chief of police operations in Rio, who allegedly may have been involved in the investigations of the president’s children, who live there.
In another moment of the video, Bolsonaro also complains about his inability to obtain information from the police and other agencies.
“You can’t work like this. It’s hard. That is why I will interfere. Period, ”he said.
Bolsonaro’s popularity has declined in part due to the resignation of Moro, whom many consider an official who has fought against corruption, and for his attempts to minimize the coronavirus pandemic, which has already left more than 20,000 Brazilians dead and whose pace is accelerating.