Following reports of his detention by Brazilian police, former Trump spokesman Jason Miller issued a statement saying that he had been questioned by law enforcement for three hours at the airport in the capital of Brasilia.
“This afternoon my travelling party was questioned for three hours at the airport in Brasilia, after having attended this weekend’s CPAC Brasil Conference,” Mr Miller said in a statement to The Independent.
“We were not accused of any wrongdoing, and told only that they ‘wanted to talk’. We informed them that we had nothing to say and were eventually released to fly back to the United States. Our goal of sharing free speech around the world continues!” he added.
The detention of Mr Miller was first reported by Metropoles. The former Trump aide was questioned by Brazil’s federal police as part of an investigation into “anti-democratic acts,” according to the outlet. Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Alexandre De Moraes issued the order to question Mr Miller. The justice opened an investigation in August into Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s unproven claims that the 2022 election in the country will be fraudulent.
Mr Miller is the CEO of Gettr, a right-leaning social media platform created following the banning of former President Donald Trump from Twitter and several other platforms in the wake of the Capitol riot on 6 January.
Gettr was launched on 1 July and reportedly has around 2m users. Mr Miller told the Washington Free Beacon that 15 per cent of the users are Brazilian.
Speaking to former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon on Monday, Mr Miller said: “We launched Gettr just 60 days ago and Brazil is already the second-largest country for us by users.”
“We have about a quarter of a million people from the great country of Brazil who have joined the platform ... what I see here, Steve, is so much love and so much enthusiasm for free speech. Especially the Bolsonaro supporters are being de-platformed, they’re being shadow-banned,” he added.
Matthew Tyrmand, who has previously written for Breitbart and is a board member at Project Veritas, tweeted photos from his and Mr Miller’s meeting with Mr Bolsonaro and his son Eduardo.
A group of world leaders has warned that Mr Bolsonaro may be plotting a military coup that could “endanger democracy in Brazil”.
In an open letter, some 150 parliamentarians, ministers, and ex-presidents from 26 countries sounded an alarm about a potential insurrection on 7 September, modelled after the “stop the steal” uprising at the US Capitol in January.
The letter says: “Right now, President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies – including white supremacist groups, military police, and public officials at every level of government – are preparing a nation-wide march against the Supreme Court and Congress on 7 September, stoking fears of a coup in the world’s third-largest democracy.”
It details the ways in which the world leaders – including Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the former prime minister of Spain; and Fernando Lugo, the former president of Paraguay – claim that Mr Bolsonaro has undermined democratic institutions in recent weeks.
“On 10 August, he directed an unprecedented military parade through the capital city of Brasilia, as his allies in Congress pushed for sweeping reforms to the country’s electoral system, widely considered to be one of the most trustworthy in the world.”
The group of world leaders also noted that Mr Bolsonaro has tried on multiple occasions to cancel the 2022 presidential elections if these reforms are not approved by Congress.
Mr Miller told Mr Bannon on Monday that the demonstrations in support of Mr Bolsonaro are like “the biggest fourth of July parties you have ever seen, except ten times bigger ... I love these people, it’s great”.
The letter from world leaders warned of the potential insurrection, noting that on 21 August, Mr Bolsonaro said that the 7 September march would be preparation for a “probable and necessary counter-coup” against Brazil’s democratic institutions, notably Congress and the Supreme Court.
Mr Bolsonaro shared this message via WhatsApp, The Huffington Post reported, urging his supporters to stage the largest demonstration in Brazil’s history, in order to prove their strength. The message also claimed that Brazil’s “communist constitution” had taken away Mr Bolsonaro’s power, and accused the “judiciary, the left, and a whole apparatus of hidden interests” of conspiring against him.
A State Department spokesperson told The Independent that the agency was aware of the reports of a US citizen being detained and released in Brazil, but declined to comment further because of privacy concerns.
The Independent has reached out to the Brazilian Federal Police and the US embassy for comment.
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