US and Brazil could join forces in Brasilia riots investigation

Two sides look to draw on experience from storming of US Capitol in 2020

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US and Brazilian politicians are looking for ways to co-operate on an investigation into violent protests in Brasilia this weekend, sharing lessons from inquiries into the attack on the US Capitol, sources said.

The initial discussions occurred as more than 70 legislators in the two countries signed a joint statement denouncing “anti-democratic” forces trying to overturn recent elections with political violence.

Supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro ransacked Brazil's Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace on Sunday, calling for a military coup to overturn the October election won by Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, who took office on January 1.

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I am extremely proud of the January 6 Select Committee's work and final report. If [it] serves as a model for similar investigations, I will help out in any way possible
US Representative Bennie Thompson, committee chairman

The office of US Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the recently dissolved House committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, is discussing collaboration, one of the sources said.

“I am extremely proud of the January 6 Select Committee's work and final report. If [it] serves as a model for similar investigations, I will help out in any way possible,” Mr Thompson said.

Brazil's Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco has also discussed the idea of an exchange with the top US diplomat in Brasilia, said another source.

The source, who is close to Mr Pacheco, said the US embassy's charge d'affaires, Douglas Koneff, was receptive to the idea of sharing knowledge from the investigation of then-president Donald Trump's supporters who attacked the Capitol in a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election win.

Mr 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 violence in Brasilia, but it would respond “expeditiously” if and when a request arrives.

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

The statement, signed mainly by progressive politicians in both countries, was articulated by the Washington Brazil Office, a group promoting bilateral dialogue in defence of human rights and sustainable development.

“It is no secret that ultra-right agitators in Brazil and the US are co-ordinating efforts,” they wrote, citing ties between associates of Mr Trump and Mr Bolsonaro. “Just as far right extremists are co-ordinating their efforts to undermine democracy, we must stand united in our efforts to protect it.”

The January 6 committee's final report, released last month, said Mr Trump should face criminal charges for inciting the deadly riot.

The report listed 17 specific findings, discussed the legal implications of actions by the former president and some of his associates, and included criminal referrals of Mr Trump and other individuals to the Justice Department.

Updated: January 12, 2023, 1:18 PM