Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro did not appear on Friday to testify before the federal police in Brasilia, as he had been ordered by a Supreme Court judge the day before, opening a new chapter in tensions with the judiciary.
The far-right president was to appear in person at 2:00 pm local time (5:00 pm GMT) at the Federal Police (PF) headquarters in the capital, at the request of Federal Supreme Court (STF) Judge Alexandre de Moraes as part of an investigation against President on the disclosure of confidential documents.
Moraes set the face-to-face questioning on Friday, after the deadline for Bolsonaro to choose himself a day and place to testify, a privilege he enjoys as president.
After the summons, and 11 minutes before the scheduled time, the Attorney General of the Union (AGU), Bruno Bianco, filed a new appeal requesting that the president be excused from questioning, which was again rejected by the judge.
The AGU, which maintains that Bolsonaro has a constitutional right not to appear, is calling for Moraes’ decision to be overturned or at least evaluated by the court’s 11-judge plenary session.
Dozens of journalists gathered at the Federal Police headquarters in Brasilia, awaiting any new action by the court or the president.
The investigation, which opened in August 2021, seeks to determine whether the president improperly disclosed classified documents to question the credibility of the electoral system.
In a live broadcast and on his social networks, Bolsonaro published a police report regarding a cyber attack on the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) in 2018.
The President released these documents, according to the TSE protected in brief secrecy, with the intent of proving that the electronic voting system in use since 1996 in Brazil is unreliable, a theory that has not been supported by any competent body.
According to political analyst Criomar de Souza, of consulting firm DHARMA, this Friday episode is a “new chapter” in the standoff between Bolsonaro and Moraes, which has allowed several investigations to be opened against him.
Bolsonaro publicly and harshly criticized the various decisions of Moraes.
The analyst notes that the judge “whenever he can, expose Bolsonaro to prove that he does not have the capacity to face justice, and that his summons to testify in person ends up being an important symbolic message” in this sense.
Bolsonaro had already been questioned by Palestinian police agents last November, in the context of another investigation authorized by Moraes, which seeks to determine whether he tried to interfere with the federal police on files relating to his relatives.
On that occasion, the President answered questions at the Planalto Palace, the presidential residence in Brasilia.
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