Senators could ask the FBI for help investigating Bolsonaro

senators FBI help investigating Bolsonaro
Arthur Weintraub during event at the presidential palace. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

The Senate’s ongoing Covid inquiry plans to request collaboration from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the U.S. to summon former presidential aide Arthur Weintraub, who currently resides in Washington DC.

Mr. Weintraub is singled out as being the liaison between President Jair Bolsonaro and an unofficial advisory board that met with the head of state on multiple occasions during the pandemic, and allegedly helped shape the government’s official coronavirus policy.

Speaking to the Brazilian press, the inquiry’s chairman Omar Aziz said that summoning the former presidential aide is “indispensable.” Mr. Weintraub currently works as a secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the U.S. capital.

“We are going to summon him, so we have to find a legal way to question him. If we can’t bring him from the U.S., we will question him in the U.S. through the FBI,” said Mr. Aziz. 

One alternative would be sending members of the inquiry to the U.S. to gather Mr. Weintraub’s deposition in person.

The Senate inquiry approved the summons of Mr. Weintraub on May 26, “so that we may clarify his potential involvement as participant or coordinator of an unofficial advisory structure to the Brazilian president during the pandemic.”

After a series of revelations regarding this unofficial advisory board came to light at the end of last week, Mr. Weintraub published a video on social media denying the existence of a so-called “parallel health ministry.” However, he admitted that he did provide advice to Mr. Bolsonaro, on his request, and facilitated meetings between the government and members of the scientific community.