Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Bolsonaro rallies supporters in Brasilia. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro seemed to take a step back from the ledge on Thursday night, releasing a conciliatory statement two days after pledging to ignore Supreme Court rulings and declaring that only God could remove him from office.

State of play: Bolsonaro addressed rallies of around 100,000 supporters in Brasilia and São Paulo on Tuesday, Brazil’s independence day. They were intended as a show of force, with his approval ratings sliding and investigations against him stacking up.

  • “A lot of people were ready to commit violence for Bolsonaro,” said Gustavo Ribeiro, the editor-in-chief of the Brazilian Report, who covered the rallies. He spoke to Brazilians who had hoped to storm the Supreme Court building in a Jan. 6-style insurrection.
  • Bolsonaro’s feud with the court started in 2019 with an investigation into social media troll armies, and multiple subsequent probes have targeted Bolsonaro and his associates.
  • After Bolsonaro started launching attacks earlier this year on the electoral system — threatening to reject any election that wasn’t held with paper ballots — the high court opened further investigations that could potentially render him ineligible to run, Ribeiro tells Axios. “That’s when it turned into an MMA fight.”

The latest: Bolsonaro said in the statement that he’d spoken in “the heat of the moment” and had no intention of attacking the Supreme Court. Brazil’s currency rose after it seemed that Bolsonaro wouldn’t deepen the crisis.

  • “[I] would guess the explicitly impeachable nature of Bolsonaro’s threat this week to disobey Supreme Court rulings, & [the growing] support in Congress and political elite in favor of impeachment, contributed to this decision,” America’s Quarterly editor Brian Winter tweeted.

What to watch: Ribeiro says that Bolsonaro has committed multiple impeachable offenses, but “has kind of snookered the political establishment."

  • “Do you do nothing and just let him move the goalposts further and further? Or do you go for the full-scale confrontation and then you increase exponentially the risks of an abrupt rupture?"
  • “It’s a lose-lose situation right now,” he says.

Even if Bolsonaro is willing to take a step back, his supporters may not be.

  • Bolsonaro met on Thursday evening with the leaders of pro-Bolsonaro trucker protests that have blockaded highways around the country, Reuters reports.
  • Bolsonaro was initially reluctant to disavow the blockades despite the economic implications, but he eventually did so in an audio message last night.
  • Some of the truckers didn't believe the message was really from Bolsonaro. And one of the leaders who met with Bolsonaro told Reuters he didn't tell them to stop.

Meanwhile on Monday, Bolsonaro issued a decree temporarily banning social media companies from removing most content without a court order — the first time such a policy has been attempted at a national level, per the NYT.

  • The social media giants haven’t said whether they’ll comply, and the move could be blocked in the courts.
  • The backstory: YouTube has removed several of Bolsonaro’s videos for including misinformation about COVID-19. He and his supporters have also spread messages warning that the 2022 election will be rigged.

Go deeper

Sep 22, 2021 - Health

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!