Exclusive: U.S. and Brazil lawmakers seek to cooperate on investigation of Brasilia riots

WASHINGTON/BRASILIA, Jan 11 (Reuters) – US and Brazilian lawmakers are looking for ways to cooperate on an investigation into violent protests that swept through Brasilia this weekend, sharing lessons from investigations into the attack on the Capitol SA, people familiar with the talks. said.

The first discussion took place when more than 70 lawmakers in the two countries signed a joint statement denouncing “anti-democratic” forces trying to overturn recent elections in their nations with political violence.

Supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Brazil’s congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace on Sunday, calling for a military coup to overturn the October election won by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

US Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the recently dissolved House committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol, is one lawmaker whose office is discussing cooperation, according to one of the sources.

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“I am extremely proud of the work and the final report of the Select Committee on January 6. If (it) serves as a model for similar investigations, I will help out anyway,” Thompson said in a written statement.

Brazilian Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco has discussed the idea of ​​such an exchange with the top US diplomat in Brasilia, another person familiar with the conversation said.

Supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as security forces operate, outside the Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, January 8, 2023. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

The source, close to Pacheco, said the chargé d’affaires of the US embassy, ​​Douglas Koneff, was open to the idea of ​​sharing know-how from the investigation by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, who attacked the Capitol in a failed attempt. stop Congress from confirming Joe Biden’s election victory.

Pacheco’s office and the US embassy in Brasilia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington had not received any specific requests from Brazil regarding the recent violence in Brasilia, but that it would respond “quickly” if and when a request comes.

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Separately, a group of 74 federal lawmakers in the United States and Brazil issued a joint statement on Wednesday condemning the political violence in Brasilia and Washington that came two years and two days apart.

The Washington Brazil Office, a group that promotes bilateral dialogue to protect human rights and sustainable development, announced the statement, signed mainly by progressive lawmakers in both countries.

“It is no secret that there are ultra-right agitators in Brazil and the United States to coordinate efforts,” they wrote, citing ties between associates of Trump and Bolsonaro. “As long as right-wing extremists coordinate their efforts to undermine democracy, we must be united in our efforts to protect it.”

The committee’s final Jan. 6 report, released last month, said Trump should face criminal charges for inciting the deadly riot. The report listed 17 specific decisions, discussed the legal implications of the actions of the former president and some of his associates and included criminal referrals of Trump and other individuals to the Department of Justice.

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Reporting by Gram Slattery in Washington, Brad Haynes in São Paulo and Maria Carolina Marcello in Brasilia; Editing by Christian Plumb, Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Gram Slattery

Thomson Reuters

Washington-based correspondent covering campaigns and Congress. Previously posted in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santiago, Chile, he has extensive reporting throughout Latin America. Co-winner of the 2021 Reuters Journalist of the Year Award in the business coverage category for a series on corruption and fraud in the oil industry. He was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College.

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