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Scandal in Brazil Raises Fear of Turmoil’s Return

The bombshell made it clear that the political and economic upheaval in Latin America’s largest country is far from over. Mr. Temer, who took over after Ms. Rousseff’s ouster only a year ago, is facing the biggest crisis of his already rocky presidency. Mr. da Silva, who has been angling for a comeback, was facing multiple corruption investigations even before the allegations were revealed on Friday.

On top of that, the politicians in line to take over if Mr. Temer falls — including the speaker of the house and the leader of the Senate — are also embroiled in corruption investigations, raising deep concerns over the nation’s leadership and future.

“The damage done to our institutions and to rule of law needs to be stanched,” Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, a former secretary of human rights, wrote in the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, describing the latest crisis as a “unique and tragic moment in our history.”

“We’ve arrived at the end of the line,” he said.

Beyond the torrent and staggering scale of the accusations, many Brazilians have been shocked that the latest scandal became public because Mr. Temer, a veteran of Brazil’s Machiavellian politics, stepped into a trap that has ensnared him before: He was caught on tape by someone he trusted.

“It’s stunning that this isn’t even the first time Temer has been recorded and betrayed in recent months,” said Mauricio Santoro, a political scientist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. “You’d think a Brazilian president would be less careless.”

Mr. Temer called it “appalling” the last time a secret recording of him came out, late last year. One of his own ministers had captured their conversation, accusing the president of pressuring him to help an ally in a property deal.

Even then, the double crossing should not have come…

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