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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.

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

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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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘I’m the one who calls the shots’: Trump rails against Fox News for giving him ‘his worst polls’

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President Donald Trump explained why Fox News has drawn his ire and that they need to realize he's the one in control of them.

In a conversation on the tarmac in Morristown, New Jersey on his way back to Washington, Trump said that Fox News has not been good to him lately.

"Fox is a lot different than it used to be, I can tell you that," Trump said.

In an earlier Twitter rant, the president went off on Juan Williams for being "nasty and wrong."

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Trump explains why he wants to buy Greenland to reporters: ‘It’s a large real estate deal — a lot can be done’

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President Donald Trump reaffirmed his desire to buy Greenland in discussion with reporters Sunday.

The president was returning to Washington, D.C. when he stopped at the airport in Morristown, New Jersey. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman asked the president about his desire to buy the country from Denmark.

"Greenland, I don't know. It got released somehow," Trump said of the news about his desire to buy the country. "It's something we talked about. Denmark essentially owns it. We're very good allies with Denmark. We protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up, and I said, strategically, it's interesting. And we'd be interested. We'll talk to them a little bit. It's not number one on the burner; I can tell you that."

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‘They love the meanest parts of him’: Conservative writer explains why evangelical Christians stick with Trump

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Ben Howe, a conservative writer and evangelical Christian who refuses to support Donald Trump, explained why fellow evangelicals continue to back the president despite his decidedly ungodly behavior.

Speaking with the Atlantic’s Emma Green about his new book The Immoral Majority, Howe — whose evangelical bona fides include attending pastor Jerry Falwell’s church as a kid — described evangelicals’ support for Trump, insisting “they love the meanest parts of him.”

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