Brazil leader defiant in face of possible charges

Lawmakers, particularly members of Temer's coalition, then spent several weeks soul-searching about whether to stick with the president or bail on him because of fears that association could be toxic for election chances next year.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has been charged with accepting bribes by the country's chief prosecutor.

Although several past Brazilian presidents and scores of other politicians are now being probed for corruption, Temer is the first leader in the country's history to face criminal charges while still in office.

Temer said Monday that nothing will "destroy" his government.

"There will be a tug-of-war between the executive branch and society for support in Congress", said Fabiano Angelico, a Sao Paulo-based consultant, adding that ultimately lawmakers "want to get re-elected".

According to Brazil's General Prosecutor Rodrigo Janot's decision, the accusation was sent to the Brazilian Supreme Court and under the state's legislation, the lower house of Congress should hold a voting to decide whether to allow a judicial process against Temer, the O Globo newspaper said Monday.

Temer's office and his attorney, Antonio Mariz, declined to comment on the charges.

Janot had opened an investigation against Temer for corruption, obstruction of justice and being part of a criminal organization last month.

Joesley Batista, one of the brothers who control JBS, recorded a conversation with Temer in which the president appears to condone bribing a potential witness.

Temer acted "in violation of his duties to the state and to society", Janot wrote, citing "abundant" proof that the president received bribe money.

"This contribution has enabled us to make a more effective impact to avoiding deforestation", Temer said, according to NTB. Batista also accused Temer and aides of negotiating millions of dollars in illegal donations for his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party.

Temer's comments were his first since returning from a trip to Russian Federation and Norway last week that was filled with gaffes and mounting bad news. "Nothing will destroy us - not me and not our ministers". "Not me and not our ministers", Temer said during the ceremonial signing of a bill in the capital of Brasilia.

Temer has denied wrongdoing and said he refuses to resign despite numerous calls for him to do so and plunging popularity.

His trip last week to Russian Federation and Norway ended up underscoring the president's problems and Brazil's diminished stature overseas thanks to a steady stream of corruption scandals the last three years.

Temer himself proposed legislation that would scale back protections for blocks of forested land seen as highly desirable by the bancada ruralista, the rural lobby of agribusiness and mining interests who supported Temer's rise to power and the impeachment of his predecessor, President Dilma Rousseff, last year.

The Datafolha polling institute showed over the weekend that just 7 percent of those questioned approved of Temer's administration — the lowest since 1989.

Even stalwart allies have begun to abandon Temer.

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