The Latest: Brazil president reportedly clears out office

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Posted: May 11, 2016 5:59 PM
The Latest: Brazil president reportedly clears out office

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The Latest on the debate and vote in Brazil's Senate on the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff (all times local):

6:55 p.m.

The Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo says President Dilma Rousseff has packed up all her personal belongings at her office in the Planalto Palace and had them sent to the Alvorada Palace, the official presidential residence.

The move took place Wednesday as the full Senate was meeting in a session that is expected to culminate in Rousseff's impeachment.

The newspaper says Rousseff's books and photos of her daughter and her two grandsons were among the items taken to the Alvorada Palace.

Citing office staff members, the newspaper says paper shredders and document scanners were working nonstop during the day.

Calls to the presidential office to confirm the report went unanswered.

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4:40 p.m.

Brazil's highest court says it has rejected an appeal filed by President Dilma Rousseff's government to halt the impeachment process against her in the Senate.

The Supreme Court says on its website that Justice Teori Zavascki rejected the appeal. Her solicitor general's office argued that last month's vote in the Chamber of Deputies recommending impeachment was riddled with irregularities.

The appeal was turned down as the full Senate was meeting in a session that's expected to culminate in Rousseff's impeachment.

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3:10 p.m.

The atmosphere in Brazil's Senate is subdued as lawmakers debate whether to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.

Most of the seats on the Senate floor has been empty, and the few senators who sitting through their colleagues' speeches have been fiddling with their phones or chatting among themselves.

It's a vivid contrast with the circus-like atmosphere at last month's vote in the lower house. Then, members of the Chamber of Deputies broke into raucous cheers and occasionally popped confetti cannons as they declared their votes.

The Senators speaking Wednesday are taking pains to mention the allegations of fiscal mismanagement that are the basis of the impeachment proceedings. Most of the lower house lawmakers dedicated their votes to God, country and family.

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2:50 p.m.

Even allies of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff are signaling they expect the Senate will impeach her and suspend her from office.

The head of her Workers' Party in the Senate appeared to concede defeat as he spoke to reporters on the sidelines of Wednesday's session.

Sen. Humberto Costa says "there is no other path for us than opposition." But he added that it would be "very firm opposition."

A simple majority of the 81 senators would be enough to start an impeachment trial that could last six months. It would take a two-thirds majority following the trial to permanently remove the president.

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12:30 p.m.

Pope Francis is addressing the political crisis expected to result in the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. He's calling for "prayer and dialogue" in Latin America's biggest country.

During his general audience on Wednesday, the pontiff said he hopes that Brazil "proceeds on the path of harmony and peace."

His statement was posted on the Vatican Radio Web site.

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9:50 a.m.

Brazil's Senate has kicked off a session that's expected to culminate in a vote on whether to impeach President Dilma Rousseff.

If a simple majority of the 81 senators vote in favor, Rousseff will be suspended from office and Vice President Michel Temer will take over for up to six months pending a decision on whether to remove her from office permanently.

Senate President Renan Calheiros has said he wants the vote to happen Wednesday night.

The impeachment hinges on allegations Rousseff violated fiscal rules in handling the federal budget. But it's also become largely a referendum on her presidency amid a deep recession and a vast kickback scheme in state oil company Petrobras.

Rousseff denies any wrongdoing and insists the impeachment amounts to a "coup" aimed at removing her left-leaning Workers' Party, in power for 13 years.