The U.S. Congressional aides working with Brazil days after the South American nation had its own Jan. 6 moment include staffers from the Jan. 6 Committee’s chairman’s office, according to a new report.
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chaired the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the Capitol that ultimately recommended criminal charges against Donald Trump, expressed pride that his own aides would be taking part in the talks with Brazil following a far-right insurrection there last weekend.
Thompson suggested to Reuters that the Jan. 6 Committee’s investigation could even be somewhat of a blueprint for Brazilian officials to follow as they conduct their own probe of what led supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to break through security barriers and storm the country’s Supreme Court and National Congress about one week after the reelection of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as simply Lula.
“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 anyway possible,” Thompson, a Democrat, told Reuters in a statement on Wednesday.
If anybody knows how to proceed following such an attack on democracy, it’s Thompson.
When Thompson and the rest of the bipartisan panel of Jan. 6 Committee members referred criminal charges against Trump to the U.S. Department of Justice last month, he called the group’s final report “a roadmap to justice” for the entities authorized to take direct action.
“We remain in strange and unchartered waters,” Thompson said. “We’ve never had a president of the United States stir up a violent attempt to block the transfer of power. I believe nearly two years later, this is still a time of reflection and reckoning.”
Thompson added later: “If we are to survive as a nation of laws and democracy, this can never happen again. Beyond our findings, we will also show that evidence we’ve gathered points to further action beyond the power of this committee or the Congress to help ensure accountability on the law. Accountability that can only be found in the criminal justice system.”
The parallels between politics in the U.S. and Brazil are palpable. The rise of fascism internationally has been a major concern, including in the U.S. and Brazil. Just like in the U.S. when Joe Biden was elected president, many across Latin America viewed Lula’s return to the presidency as a return to Democracy across the region.
As seen in the U.S., defeating a far-right leader is only one step to combatting the global pull toward fascism. Brazil took a decisive step in the opposite direction when Bolsonaro was defeated.
Lula — like Biden, Thompson and other top Democrats did for Jan. 6 — promised there would be accountability for the insurrection and attack on democracy in Brazil.
“Whoever did this will be found and punished. Democracy guarantees the right to free expression, but it also requires people to respect institutions,” Lula said Sunday. “There is no precedent in the history of the country what they did today. For that they must be punished.”