CONFLICTS

Brazil President lashes out at VP over impeachment bid

  • A supporter of President Dilma Rousseff acts like a puppet being manipulated by another person during a demonstration against Rousseff's impeachment process, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 11, 2016. As a congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the process to impeach Rousseff move forward thousands of her supporters turned out for anti-impeachment events in downtown Rio de Janeiro, attended by top musicians, artists and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.  (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

    A supporter of President Dilma Rousseff acts like a puppet being manipulated by another person during a demonstration against Rousseff's impeachment process, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 11, 2016. As a congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the process to impeach Rousseff move forward thousands of her supporters turned out for anti-impeachment events in downtown Rio de Janeiro, attended by top musicians, artists and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)  (The Associated Press)

  • Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends an event in support of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 11, 2016. As a congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the impeachment process against Rousseff move forward thousands of her supporters turned out for anti-impeachment events in downtown Rio de Janeiro, attended by top musicians, artists and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

    Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends an event in support of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 11, 2016. As a congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the impeachment process against Rousseff move forward thousands of her supporters turned out for anti-impeachment events in downtown Rio de Janeiro, attended by top musicians, artists and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)  (The Associated Press)

  • A supporter holds flares during a demonstration in support of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and against her impeachment process, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 11, 2016. Rousseff is accused of manipulating budget accounts to allow her administration to boost spending to shore up votes ahead of her 2014 re-election campaign and she calls the impeachment effort an attempted coup. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

    A supporter holds flares during a demonstration in support of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and against her impeachment process, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 11, 2016. Rousseff is accused of manipulating budget accounts to allow her administration to boost spending to shore up votes ahead of her 2014 re-election campaign and she calls the impeachment effort an attempted coup. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)  (The Associated Press)

Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday called her Vice President Michel Temer the "head of the conspiracy" that seeks to remove her from office in her most direct attack on him so far.

Speaking to teachers and students at the Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Rousseff said Temer and Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha are working together to gather votes for her impeachment.

A lower house commission on Monday put Rousseff one step closer to impeachment after approving a report in favor of her removal. Hours earlier, a 13-minute-long audio of Temer rehearsing a post-impeachment speech was leaked.

Rousseff said the recording shows Temer has "arrogance and contempt for the people."

"The mask of the conspirators has fallen," she said.

Rousseff is facing impeachment proceedings over allegations her administration violated fiscal rules to mask budget problems by shifting around government accounts ahead of her 2014 re-election.

Opposition parties claim sleight-of-hand accounting moves allowed her to boost public spending to shore up votes. Rousseff has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime.

Her opponents say the impeachment process is in line with the wishes of the majority of Brazilians, while Rousseff's supporters call it a blatant power grab by her foes.

In another development, a former senator was detained in the latest sweep in a sprawling corruption investigation here.

Officials said Gim Argello was placed in preventive detention early Tuesday, accused of taking bribes from construction firms involved in the massive bribes scheme at the state-run Petrobras oil company. The bribes were allegedly in exchange for Argello's help in keeping the firms' executives from being called to appear before parliamentary committees investigating the scheme.

Federal prosecutor Carlos Fernando de Lima said the illicit funds were then passed on as legal donations to political parties.

Lima told journalists at a news conference the practice "has existed for a long time."

He said that "corruption in Brazil is not partisan."

Argello's aide and another person were temporarily detained in the sweep.