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3 reasons why UK poisoning is one big ‘May-Johnson’ government cover up (Video)

The Three Most Important Aspects of the Skripal Case so Far.

Alex Christoforou

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Keep calm and backpedal.

The UK Foreign Office was busted yesterday deleting a tweet on Russia producing the nerve agent allegedly used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

A UK military laboratory said it could not identify the source of the nerve agent used in the attack.

That’s despite Britain accusing Russia of orchestrating the attack moments after it happened, and with zero evidence produced, now two weeks after the fact.

The Three Most Important Aspects of the Skripal Case so Far…and Where They Might be Pointing: Via The Blog Mire…


I have now asked a total of 50 questions around the Skripal case, which you can find here and here. Having gone back through these questions, as far as I can see only three have been answered by the release of public information or events that have transpired. These are:

  • Are they (Sergei and Yulia Skripal) still alive?
  • If so, what is their current condition and what symptoms are they displaying?
  • Can the government confirm that its scientists at Porton Down have established that the substance that poisoned the Skripals and D.S. Bailey was actually produced or manufactured in Russia?

On the first two points we are now told that Yulia Skripal’s condition has significantly improved to the point where she is said to be recovering well and talking. However, although this provides something of an answer to these questions, it also raises a number of others. Is she finally being allowed consular access? Is she being allowed to speak to her fiancé, her grandmother, or her cousin by telephone? Most importantly, how does her recovery comport with the claim that she was poisoned with a “military-grade nerve agent” with a toxicity around 5-8 times that of VX nerve agent?

On the other point, we do now have a definitive answer from none other than the Chief Executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, Gary Aitkenhead: No, Porton Down was not able to identify the substance as being produced or manufactured in Russia.

It is important that reasonable questions continue to be raised, as they not only help clarify the actual issues, but the answers — or lack thereof — are also a good barometer as to how the official narrative stacks up. As a keen observer of the case — especially since it took place just a few hundred yards from my home in Salisbury — I have to say that the official narrative of the British Government has not stood up to even the most cursory scrutiny from the outset. In fact, there are three crucial issues that serve to raise suspicions about it, and to my mind these issues are the most important aspects of the case so far:

  1. The absurd speed at which the British Government reacted to the incident
  2. The British Government’s ignoring of legal frameworks and protocols
  3. The large number of discrepancies between events and the official narrative

Let’s just look at these in turn.

1. The absurd speed at which the British Government reacted to the incident

I remain astonished at the manner and the speed with which the British Government reacted to this incident. There was the speed with which the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, first pointed the finger of culpability, less than 48 hours after the incident, and before any investigation or analysis of the substance had taken place. There was the speed with which Porton Down was apparently able to analyse and identify the substance, even though it is set to take the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at least three weeks to carry out a similar identification. There was the speed with which the British Government officially accused the Russian Government of being behind the incident, and the 36-hour ultimatum given to it to prove its innocence without being given any of the evidence that apparently showed its culpability. There was the speed with which the British Government, armed with evidence that looked like it was put together by a rather dull 14-year-old on work experience, managed to convince a number of other countries to expel diplomats, including 60 from the United States.

Why, if it was so sure of its claims, did the British Government feel the need to act so hastily and recklessly, rather than await the results of the investigation?

2. The British Government’s ignoring of legal frameworks and protocols

Not only has the British Government acted with lightning speed, it has also ridden roughshod over a number of international legal agreements and protocols.

Firstly, there is the involvement of the OPCW. What ought to have happened is the British Government should have invited the OPCW in as part of the investigation immediately upon suspicion of the use of a nerve agent. However, according to the British Government’s own timeline, it wasn’t until March 14th– the day that Mrs May formally announced the culpability of the Russian State to Parliament – that she actually wrote to the OPCW to involve them in the case. This is, I understand, contrary to the obligations Britain has as a member of the OPCW, and signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

In addition, the British Government has refused to provide evidence to the Russian Government. Again, my understanding is that this is contrary to the protocols set out in the CWC.

The British Government has also refused to grant the Russian Embassy in London consular access to two Russian nationals, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, which it is legally obliged to do under Articles 36 and 37 of the 1963 Vienna Convention and Article 35 (1) of the 1965 Consular Convention.

Why, if it was so sure of its claims, did the British Government feel the need to ignore international agreements to which it is a signatory, and instead act in this opaque and frankly suspicious manner?

3. The number of oddities and discrepancies in the official narrative

The speed of apportioning blame and the ignoring of international legal agreements might not have looked nearly as suspicious had the narrative presented by the British Government and the facts on the ground been in harmony with one another. But they have not been. Instead, many of the actual events that have transpired over the weeks since the incident was first reported simply do not fit the overarching explanation given. Below are five of the most important:

1. As mentioned above, the Chief Executive of Porton Down, Gary Aitkenhead has confirmed that the laboratory was unable to identify the origin of the substance used to poison the Skripals. This is in direct contradiction to the claims made by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, who said the following on the Andrew Marr Show on 18th March:

“Obviously to the best of our knowledge this is a Russian-made nerve agent that falls within the category Novichok made only by Russia, and just to get back to the point about the international reaction which is so fascinating…”

If it’s made only by Russia, as Mr Johnson claimed, then it must have originated in Russia. Right? Yet Mr Aitkenhead says they were unable to identify where it was made.

Then in an interview with Deutsche Welle two days after his above comments, Mr Johnson was categorical about the source of the nerve agent as being Russian. Here’s the exchange:

Interviewer: You argue that the source of this nerve agent, Novichok, is Russia. How did you manage to find it out so quickly? Does Britain possess samples of it?

Johnson: “Let me be clear with you … When I look at the evidence, I mean the people from Porton Down, the laboratory …”

Interviewer: “So they have the samples …

Johnson: “They do. And they were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said there’s no doubt.”

Who “the guy” is, perhaps we’ll never know. The cleaner perhaps? I suppose a politician of Mr Johnson’s calibre will happily try to weasel his way out of the implications of what he said. But to us lesser mortals, it does rather look like he was deliberately misleading, doesn’t it

2. Much of the investigation initially concentrated on where the Skripals were poisoned. Amongst the suggestions made were the bench on which they collapsed, the Zizzi restaurant where they had eaten, Ms Skripal’s luggage or Mr Skripal’s car. Then, some 24 days after the incident, it was announced that a high concentration of the “military-grade nerve agent” had been found on the front door, and that this was the likely place of poisoning. Yet it is known that after leaving the house, Mr Skripal and his daughter drove into the City Centre, went to the Mill pub, and then to the restaurant where they ate a meal together. In other words, according to the door theory, the two of them were poisoned by a military grade nerve agent, which then took over three hours to have any effect. Odd, wouldn’t you say?

3. Furthermore, it has been stated that the two of them became ill at the same time on the bench in the Maltings. Therefore, if they were poisoned at the front door, this would mean that not only did the two of them feel little or no effects for the three hours or so that followed, but it would also mean that a large 66-year-old man and an averagely built 33-year-old woman, of different height, weight and metabolism, somehow succumbed to the effects of poisoning at exactly the same time, some three hours or so later. Again, is that not very odd?

4. The claim that they were poisoned by a military grade nerve agent, of a type said to be 5-8 times the toxicity of VX nerve agent, is itself surely open to question. Both Mr Skripal and his daughter not only survived, but Yulia Skripal is now said to be sitting up and talking just weeks later. Perhaps it is possible to survive a miniscule dose of such a nerve agent. The problem with this is that according to many earlier claims, there were significant traces of the substance in various parts of the City of Salisbury, which indicates that it cannot have been a very miniscule amount that they came into contact with at the door. Which means that we are being asked to believe that they were poisoned by “more than a miniscule amount” of this deadly poison, but both somehow survived, despite neither receiving an antidote (a fact now confirmed by Gary Aitkenhead). Does that not seem improbable?

5. The official explanation – that this was planned and authorised at the highest level within the Russian Government – would lead one to believe that the action was carried out by top level agents of the FSB. Yet the mode of attack – nerve agent apparently smeared or sprayed on the door – has to be one of the least effective methods that could be used to assassinate anyone. For a start, it rains a lot in Salisbury, and it did indeed rain on the day of the poisoning. If the substance was left at the front door (assuming it was the outside), the attacker(s) could have had no guarantee that it would not be washed off before Mr Skripal touched it. Nor could they have had any guarantee that he, as opposed to his daughter or perhaps a delivery person etc, would come into contact with it. And of course there is the fact that Mr Skripal is still alive. Does any of this seem consistent with the narrative of a professional, Kremlin-authorised hit-job.

Conclusion

Where does this leave us? The official narrative would have us believe that the Russian Government authorised the killing of a has-been (former?) MI6 spy, who it had freed in 2010 and who presumably posed no threat to it, just a week before the Russian election and weeks before the World Cup, using a nerve agent with an exclusively Russian signature, in a way (on the door) that could not guarantee the intended target would touch it. This would be difficult enough to swallow by itself, but the British Government’s rush to judgement, disregard for law, and the many discrepancies in the actual events themselves make this scenario absurdly implausible.

Another possibility – that the British Government or intelligence services were behind the incident – has been given great credibility by the British Government itself, in its absurdly quick reaction to the incident and its blatant ignoring of legal protocols. These actions were bound to fuel suspicions about the possibility of its own involvement, and I have to say that such suspicions are absolutely legitimate precisely because of the way it has behaved. However, it must be said that the oddities and discrepancies in the case don’t lend themselves very well to the idea of a carefully planned false flag. If British intelligence had planned a hit job on Mr Skripal using a military-grade nerve agent “of a type developed by Russia”, in order to then pin the blame on the Russian Government, I doubt very much that Mr Skripal and his daughter would still be alive, or that the explanation for where the poison was administered would be changing on a daily basis, or that the British Government’s evidence to other countries would have been as risible as it was (unless of course our intelligence agencies are as incompetent as such a scenario would require them to be, that is).

My hunch — and it is just that — is that Mr Skripal himself was perhaps still working for British intelligence, and may have been in possession of a nerve agent. Somehow, this involvement went wrong, and he ended up accidently poisoning himself and his daughter on the bench in The Maltings. The Government then scrambled to concoct a story in order to cover up the real story of a Russian working for MI6 and handling nerve agents, and so quickly decided to point the finger at that most convenient scapegoat, the Russian Government.

The reason that I’m attracted to this possibility is that it explains all three aspects I have described above, and which I think are the most important aspects of the case. The rush to judgement — which looked like panic-mode to me — could have been an attempt to divert attention away from the investigation looking at the possibility of Mr Skripal having military grade nerve agent in his possession. The ignoring of international legal protocols, at least for a time, could have been done to ensure that the case was not probed by any outside body, which may well have exposed discrepancies. And it could also explain many of the oddities mentioned above, such as traces of nerve agent apparently being found in various places in Salisbury, since these could have come about because Mr Skripal was in possession of some sort of nerve agent when he left his house that day.

As I say, this is just a hunch and purely speculative. I am probably wrong. But unless the British Government is able to produce far better evidence than it has so far produced, to back up the claims it has made, I shall consider it a more credible possibility than the one they have sold to the British public.

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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Trump witch hunt dots connected: CNN to Steele to John McCain (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss documents released which show that Christopher Steele admitted to using posts by ‘random individuals’ on the CNN community website ‘iReport’ in order to back up his fabricated Trump dossier.

President Trump took note of Steele’s use of CNN citizen journalist posts, in a twitter tirade that blasted the British ex-spy for running with unverified community generated content from a now now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

Trump the proceeded to rip into late neocon Arizona Senator John McCain, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent the Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

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Via The Daily Caller

A federal court unsealed 43 pages Thursday of a deposition that former British spy Christopher Steele gave as part of a lawsuit over his infamous anti-Trump dossier.

To the disappointment of many observers, the full deposition was not unsealed in Thursday’s motion. Instead, portions of Steele’s interview, which he gave in London on July 13, 2018, were unsealed in separate court filings submitted in the lawsuit.

Steele’s full deposition totaled 145 pages. The portions published Thursday focus mainly on questions about the dossier’s claims about Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the claim and sued Steele and BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, who handled the lawsuit, ordered a slew of previously sealed documents to be made public Thursday. Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 but did not weigh in on whether the dossier’s claims about Gubarev were accurate.

It is unclear whether Steele’s entire deposition will be released. A source familiar with Steele’s interview tempered expectations of any bombshells in the document, saying that Steele avoided going into detail about his efforts to create the dossier and his sources.

A deposition given by former State Department official David Kramer was perhaps the most enlightening document contained in the dump.

Kramer, a longtime associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier. Kramer shared the dossier with at least 11 other reporters, including CNN’s Carl Bernstein. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To A Dozen Reporters)

Kramer obtained the dossier in late November 2016 after visiting Steele in London. Steele acknowledged that Kramer and McCain were picked as conduits to pass the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. McCain met with Comey on Dec. 9, 2016 and provided all of the dossier’s memos that had been written up to that point.

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” Kramer said in the deposition when asked why Steele and his business partners at Fusion GPS wanted McCain to meet with Comey.

Via Washington Examiner

Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN’s iReport website and said he wasn’t aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

“I do not have any particular knowledge of that,” Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, “I do not.” He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”

He was pressed on this further: “Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” Steele replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

When asked about his methodology for searching for this information, Steele described it as “what we could call an open source search,” which he defined as “where you go into the Internet and you access material that is available on the Internet that is of relevance or reference to the issue at hand or the person under consideration.”

Steele said his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that he admitted could contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.”

Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Fusion GPS was receiving funding at the time from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm.

The series of memos that Steele would eventually compile became known as the “Trump Dossier.” The dossier was used in FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

When asked whether he warned Fusion GPS that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

Steele also described his interactions with Sen. John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, whose own deposition showed that he provided BuzzFeed with a copy of the dossier and had spoken with more than a dozen journalists about it.

“I provided copies of the December memo to Fusion GPS for onward passage to David Kramer at the request of Sen. John McCain,” Steele said. “Sen. McCain nominated him as the intermediary. I did not choose him as the intermediary.”

When asked if he told Kramer that he couldn’t “vouch for everything that was produced in the memos,” Steele replied, “Yes, with an emphasis on ‘everything.'”

When asked why he believed it was so important to provide the dossier to Sen. McCain, Steele said: “Because I judged it had national security implications for the United States and the West as a whole.”

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Trudeau’s Top Bureaucrat Unexpectedly Quits Amid Growing Corruption Scandal

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

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Via Zerohedge


Since it was exposed by a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month, the scandal that’s become known as the SNC-Lavalin affair has already led to the firing of several of Trudeau’s close advisors and raised serious questions about whether the prime minister was complicit in pressuring the attorney general to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with a large, Quebec-based engineering firm.

And according to the first round of polls released since the affair exploded into public view…

…it could cost Trudeau his position as prime minister and return control to the conservatives, according to the CBC.

Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37% to 32% for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36% to 34% in the Conservatives’ favour.Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research’s polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.

Meanwhile, as the noose tightens around Trudeau, on Monday another of the key Canadian government officials at the center of the SNC-Lavalin scandal has quit his post.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council, the highest-ranking position in Canada’s civil service and a key aide to Justin Trudeau, announced his retirement Monday. Trudeau named Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace him.

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

“It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties,” he said, citing the need for impartiality on the issue of potential foreign interference. According to Bloomberg, the exact date of his departure is unclear.

As we reported in February, Canada’s former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit following allegations that several key Trudeau government figures pressured her to intervene to end a criminal prosecution against Montreal-based construction giant SNC. Wernick was among those she named in saying the prime minister’s office wanted her to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Wernick has since twice spoken to a committee of lawmakers investigating the case, and during that testimony both defended his actions on the SNC file and warned about the risk of foreign election interference, as “blame Putin” has become traditional Plan B plan for most politicians seeing their careers go up in flames.

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now, its politics and where it’s headed. I worry about foreign interference in the upcoming election,” he said in his first appearance before the House of Commons justice committee, before repeating the warning a second time this month. “If that was seen as alarmist, so be it. I was pulling the alarm. We need a public debate about foreign interference.”

Because somehow foreign interference has something to do with Wenick’s alleged corruption.

Incidentally, as we wonder what the real reason is behind Wernick’s swift departure, we are confident we will know soon enough.

Anyway, back to the now former clerk, who is meant to be non-partisan in service of the government of the day, also criticized comments by a Conservative senator and praised one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

Wernick’s testimony was criticized as overly cozy with the ruling Liberals. Murray Rankin, a New Democratic Party lawmaker, asked the clerk how lawmakers could “do anything but conclude that you have in fact crossed the line into partisan activity?” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said he seemed “willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.”

Whatever Wernick’s true motives, he is the latest but not last in what will be a long line of cabinet departures as the SNC scandal exposes even more corruption in Trudeau’s cabinet (some have ironically pointed out that Canada’s “beloved” prime minister could be gone for actual corruption long before Trump). Trudeau had already lost a top political aide, Gerald Butts, to the scandal. A second minister, Jane Philpott, followed Wilson-Raybould in quitting cabinet.

Separately, on Monday, Trudeau appointed a former deputy prime minister in a Liberal government, Anne McLellan, as a special adviser to investigate some of the legal questions raised by the controversy. They include how governments should interact with the attorney general and whether that role should continue to be held by the justice minister.

As Bloomberg notes, the increasingly shaky Liberal government hasn’t ruled out helping SNC by ordering a deferred prosecution agreement in the corruption and bribery case, which centers around the company’s work in Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya. Doing so would allow the company to pay a fine and avoid any ban on receiving government contracts. That decision is up to the current attorney general, David Lametti; of course, such an action would only raise tensions amid speculation that the government is pushing for a specific political, and favorable for Trudeau, outcome.

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