Last night, after Michael Phelps finished turning Chad le Cos into a crying Jordan meme, Brazil’s Senate voted 59-21 to bring formal impeachment charges against suspended President Dilma Rousseff. Once the sporting spectacle is over in late August, the Senate will render its final verdict, at which point a legislative body overrun by corruption will remove a twice-elected president guilty of none herself.
By now, there is not even a pretense of legitimacy to these proceedings. Eduardo Cunha, the congressman who led the impeachment campaign, has been removed from office for corruption. Senate President Renan Calheiros has been caught on tape conspiring to derail investigations into a massive corruption scheme. Three members of interim President Michel Temer’s all-white male cabinet have already been forced to resign over bribe-taking. Just this weekend, fresh allegations emerged that Temer, who is barred from running for office due to campaign finance violations, solicited millions in “financial support” himself.
Tucked away in the isolated inland capital of Brasília, hundreds of miles from Rio and the newly emboldened movement to force Temer’s resignation, Temer’s PMDB party is counting on the Olympics to distract. And by all appearances, it looks like it’s working.