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Canada’s Trudeau broke conflict of interest rules, says ethics watchdog

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Canada’s ethics watchdog slammed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, concluding in the lead-up October elections that he broke rules by arm-twisting his attorney general to settle a criminal case against engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.

The scandal, revealed earlier this year, tarnished the prime minister’s golden boy image, cost two ministers and two senior officials their jobs and plunged his Liberals into a dead heat with the opposition Conservatives in the polls.

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Independent parliamentary ethics commissioner Mario Dion said Trudeau and his officials had wrongly sought to “exert influence over the attorney general in her decision whether to intervene in a matter relating to a criminal prosecution.”

Trudeau must pay a small fine of up to Can$500 (US$375) for contravening Canada‘s conflict of interest act, but with only two months before national elections the political costs could be much steeper.

Trudeau had steadfastly denied accusations that his inner circle sought to shield SNC-Lavalin from a corruption trial.

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The Montreal-based firm was charged in 2015 with allegedly paying bribes to secure contracts in Libya.

Attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould refused to ask prosecutors to settle the case, and the trial is set to proceed.

But after resigning, she testified to lawmakers that she had experienced “consistent and sustained” political pressure to interfere in the case, including “veiled threats.”

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Dion concluded: “The authority of the prime minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the director of public prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms. Wilson-Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”

He also found that “partisan political interests were improperly put to the attorney general for consideration in the matter,” notably that a conviction at trial would result in SNC-Lavalin being deprived of lucrative government contracts resulting in job losses that could harm the Liberals’ re-election bid.

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Woman who became infamous for racist rants and alleged attacks gets hit by a fire truck

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A woman who's made a name for herself by being caught on video spewing racism has been hit by a fire truck and critically injured, according to a report from the Citizen Times.

Rachel Dawn Ruit suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck by the fire truck on July 13 in Asheville, North Carolina. Earlier this month, Ruit made headlines after she allegedly attacked a 14-year-old girl and ripped off a woman's hijab during a Black Lives Matter protest.

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The coronavirus outlook is ‘grim’ in the US — and will only ‘get worse’ thanks to Trump and his sycophants: Paul Krugman

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Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has not hesitated to lambast President Donald Trump and his sycophants for their response to the coronavirus pandemic — a response that, according to Krugman, has made the crisis much worse than it has to be in the United States. And in his July 13 column, Krugman points to recent GOP “opposition research” against Dr. Anthony Fauci as a prime example of the type of insanity that is making the U.S. #1 in COVID-19 infections.

Krugman opens his column by offering a “brief history of the past four months in America.” While health experts like Fauci have warned, “Don’t rush to reopen, this isn’t over,” Trump’s message has been “LIBERATE!” — and the response of COVID-19 is “Wheee!” And the boneheaded mentality of Trump officials, according to Krugman, has been “Here’s our opposition research on Anthony Fauci.”

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2020 Election

Trump-loving network OAN caught only releasing polls favorable to the president — and ignoring bad ones

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One America News, the Trump-loving network that President Donald Trump has pitched to his fans as an alternative to Fox News, has been caught red-handed only releasing polls it commissions if they happen to be good news for the president.

FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver on Tuesday found a strange discrepancy in new polls released by Gravis Marketing, which happens to be OAN's official pollster.

In particular, Silver noted that OAN only sponsored Gravis polls showing Trump holding leads in states such as North Carolina, Georgia, and Arizona -- while declining to sponsor new Gravis polls showing the president getting blown out in both Florida and Minnesota.

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