Jason Miller, a former senior adviser to Donald Trump, said he was briefly detained and questioned by Brazilian authorities in the country’s capital on Tuesday.
Miller said he was at the airport in Brasilia when he and members of his traveling party were questioned for three hours by authorities. Miller said on Twitter that he was in the country to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference there last week.
“We were not accused of any wrongdoing, and told only that they ‘wanted to talk,’ ” Miller said. “We informed them that we had nothing to say and were eventually released to fly back to the United States.”
CNN has asked the Brazilian government and the Federal Police why Miller and his traveling party were questioned but has yet to receive a response.
Tuesday is Brazil’s Independence Day, and scores gathered in protest in cities across the country, both in support of and in opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro faces a looming election court investigation, sinking poll numbers and criticism around his response to the coronavirus pandemic. CNN Brazil reports Bolsonaro met with Miller at the weekend conference.
Speaking at a rally Tuesday, Bolsonaro mentioned an “intercepted American” while railing against Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, without mentioning Miller or his colleagues by name. Bolsonaro has refused to obey any order issued by Moraes, after he ruled for an investigation to be opened into Bolsonaro’s spread of misinformation.
“Stop oppressing the Brazilian people. Stop censoring your people,” Bolsonaro said, directing his comments to Moraes.
Without mentioning Miller or any other American by name, Bolsonaro added, “We are increasingly conservative. We are increasingly respectful of our law and Constitution. And we will no longer allow people like Alexandre de Moraes to continue to whip our democracy and disrespect our Constitution. He had every opportunity to act with respect for all of us. But he didn’t act in that way, as he still doesn’t. As he just intercepted an American citizen to be questioned about anti-democratic acts. A shame to our country, sponsored by Alexandre de Moraes.”
Moraes has not publicly responded to Bolsonaro’s claims. It is not clear who, or which Brazilian authority, ordered Miller and his colleagues to be questioned.
Rival pro-Bolsonaro rallies and anti-Bolsonaro protests in multiple cities across Brazil on Tuesday had been peaceful and most had dispersed by Tuesday evening.
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