Brazil’s Bolsonaro Blasts Crimes Against Humanity Claims in Covid Probe

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Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Brazil’s Bolsonaro Blasts Crimes Against Humanity Claims in Covid Probe” – below is their description.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the findings of an explosive report issued by a Senate investigative committee Wednesday, saying the report produced nothing but “hatred and rancour.”

Bolsonaro made the comments shortly after Senator Renan Calheiros read a summary of the report before the full Senate, which found the president culpable in the deaths of fellow citizens during the pandemic.

“This CPI (Senate Hearing Committee) is the first to prove the fingerprints of the president on the death of millions of citizens,” Calheiros told fellow Senators while inflating the number of deaths from Covid-19,

The report can still be modified before the committee vote on Oct. 26, and the decision on whether to file most of the charges would be up to Brazil’s prosecutor-general, who the president appointed.

Analysts say it is not clear the prosecutor will act and that the report is far less likely to have legal repercussions for the president than to hamper his push for re-election one year from now.

Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly accused the investigation of being a political instrument aimed at sabotaging him.

The presidential press office didn’t respond to The Associated Press’ request for comment after the report’s presentation.

Critics have denounced Bolsonaro for downplaying COVID-19’s severity, ignoring international health guidelines on masks and restrictions on activity designed to prevent the virus’ spread, touting unproven treatments and delaying the acquisition of vaccines.

Even during the worst throes of the pandemic, Bolsonaro rejected restrictions on activity, claiming the poor would suffer worse hardship if the economy ground to a halt.

He continues to argue that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is effective in treating COVID-19, though broad, major studies have found it to be ineffective and potentially dangerous.

The document has to be approved by the committee before being sent to the office of the prosecutor-general, who would decide whether to carry forward the investigation and eventually pursue charges.

In Brazil, members of congressional committees can investigate but don’t have the power to indict.

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