Jair Bolsonaro apparently set up his own conspiracy to steal elections

In a Donald Trump–like disinformation campaign, far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro prepares for Brazil’s 2022 general election by preemptively pushing conspiracy theories about electronic vote counting, attacking the country’s highest electoral court and insisting that he will only lose re-election if mass voter fraud or God is involved is. US officials have long expressed concern about Bolsonaro’s attempts to undermine the October 2 election. In a private meeting held last summer, CIA chief William Burns implored Brazil’s top officials to curtail the president’s baseless allegations of electoral fraud, according to a Reuters report released Thursday.

During the meeting, Burns “made it clear that elections were not an issue to mess with,” according to an unnamed Reuters source. Likewise, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan used a visit to Brazil in August to dissuade Bolsonaro from further undermining voters’ confidence in the electoral process, Reuters reported at the time.

August Helena, Bolsonaro’s national security adviser told Reuters that the reported conversations between Bolsonaro operatives and CIA officials “never happened,” while Bolsonaro called the Reuters report “fake news” on a live stream Thursday.

Bolsonaro, a nationalist nicknamed “the Trump of the tropics” for his admiration and imitation of the former US president, hails from his successful re-election campaign in 2018 and insisted that he could only be defeated by electoral fraud. scheme. And in the wake of Trump’s “stolen election” crusade, which culminated in last year’s Capitol riots, Bolsonaro doubled down on lifting from the GOP’s 2020 playbook, criticizing Brazil’s electronic voting machines and warning that the ballots of deceased voters could be used by his opponent .

According to a new survey conducted by pollster Ipespe, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the left-wing candidate of the race and the former president of Brazil, continues to lead Bolsonaro by double digits, which is probably why Bolsonaro is laying the groundwork for dismissing the results as “a farce backed by… the electoral court.” While there are clear parallels to Trump’s 2020 election lies, Bolsonaro has even gone a step further. Last week, he kicked off the idea of ​​using the military to monitor the elections and track his own voter tally, a tally that would be used to examine the results of Brazil’s electoral court. This threat is particularly ominous as Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.

During his Thursday livestream, Bolsonaro indicated that his party would also outsource an election audit to a private company, noting that such outside auditors could conclude it is “impossible” to prove that the election results are “free from any suspicion of outside interference.”

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