Brazilian President Says He Won't Resign Over Hush Money Allegations

Globo also reported that Mr Batista had recorded Mr Temer endorsing a bribe to silence Cunha.

Television channels cut from regular programing to air scenes from Brasilia of top political leaders rushing red-faced and panic-stricken through the hallways of Congress, on their way to meet with Mr. Temer.

Temer has denied the allegation that he condoned paying a bribe and is expected to make a public statement about the allegations later in the day.

According to the account, Mr Temer told Mr Batista: "You need to keep doing that, OK?"

The allegations are the latest development in Operation Carwash, a sprawling corruption probe that has implicated many of Brazil's business and political elite, including some in the President's own party.

But Brazilian law says he can not be prosecuted for those crimes while he holds the office of President. "I know what I have done".

Cunha led the impeachment fight that removed Dilma Rousseff from the presidency a year ago and put Temer, then the vice president, into power.

Brazilian federal police are searching the office and homes of a top senator and presidential contender.

Even in this country tired from the constant drip of revelations of a wide-ranging corruption investigation, the incendiary accusation set off a firestorm and Brazil's highest court opened an investigation.

He was accused of authorising illicit payments to a jailed former speaker of the lower house of the Brazilian parliament, Eduardo Cunha.

A recording of the alleged conversation was presented to prosecutors by the chairman of JBS, the world's biggest meatpacker, as part of plea bargain negotiations, the O Globo newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Some Temer allies tried to shore up confidence, but others said his Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, was in tatters.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city and the nation's economic engine, about 2,000 people gathered on Avenida Paulista to demand Temer being ousted.

Temer's situation grew more perilous after the Supreme Court approved an investigation into allegations against him, according to a source with direct knowledge of the decision.

Sergio Praça, a political scientist at Brazil's Getulio Vargas Foundation university, said Temer would have "zero chance of surviving this" once the audio recordings are released.

Temer was Rousseff's former vice president and has been serving as interim President since her suspension in May 2016. Under the Brazilian law, the speaker should either start considering or reject a request on impeaching the president.

The tapes are theoretically part of a sealed deposition, but Brazil's political crisis over the past two years has played out in a series of leaks to media.

The case is a potential threat to Temer, who in 2014 was elected as vice president to president Dilma Rousseff, and could potentially be tossed from office depending on the full Supreme Electoral Court's ruling.

Associated Press writer Peter Prengaman reported this story in Rio de Janeiro and AP writer Mauricio Savarese reported from Sao Paulo.

  • Zachary Reyes