As Brazil’s Rousseff faces impeachment, she denies wrongdoing

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denies wrongdoing as speaker of the lower house agrees to open impeachment proceedings against her.

BRASILIA, BRAZIL (DECEMBER 2, 2015) (GOVERNMENT TV) – Hours after Brazil’s lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha agreed to open impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff on Wednesday (December 2), she went on national television to respond to the allegations, denying any wrongdoing.

“Today I received with indignation the decision of the president of the House of Representatives to process the impeachment request against the mandate democratically given to me by the Brazilian people. The reasons that led to this request are inconsistent and unfounded. I have not done anything illegal. There is nothing hanging over me, no suspicion of diverting public money. I don’t have a foreign account nor did I hide the existence of any personal goods from public knowledge. I never coerced nor tried to coerce institutions or people in order to satisfy my interests. My past and my present attest to my trustworthiness and my unquestionable dedication to public laws,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Cunha, who is himself under investigation for corruption, agreed to open impeachment proceedings that had been filed by opposition parties in September.

The unpopular president is accused of violating Brazil’s fiscal laws and manipulating government finances to benefit her reelection campaign last year.

A special committee with members from all parties will decide on the merits of the request, which then needs two-thirds, or 342, of the votes of the chamber to suspend the president pending a 90-day trial by the Senate.

Cunha’s power to start impeachment proceedings has given him a trump card against Rousseff and the governing coalition, which is splintering under the weight of Brazil’s worst recession in 25 years and a massive graft scandal.