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Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan is neither new, nor a strategy, nor Trump’s

A product not of consensus but of struggle.

Jim Jatras

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For some time it has been clear that the White House of President Donald Trump was convulsed with a struggle among various court factions vying for the Emperor’s ear. Crudely oversimplified, these are variously described as:

1. The military «Junta» (Generals McMaster, National Security Council; Mattis, Pentagon; and Kelly, White House Chief of Staff;

2. The Goldman-Sachs «Globalists» (preeminently First Daughter Ivanka and First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner);

3. The «Populist-Nationalists» («the two Steves» Bannon and Miller); and

4. The Regular Republicans who, to their credit, in 2016 chose to join the Trump populist movement over more conventionally «conservative» GOP candidates (Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway).

It is understood that the first two factions were generally allied against the second two. Following Priebus’s ouster, the bellwether would be who got tossed out next: Bannon or McMaster. It was Bannon.

On August 18, with Bannon’s defenestration, it became clear that the Junta and the Globalists were firmly in charge. The only outliers left – besides somebody named Trump – are Conway and Miller. We’ll see how long they last. Any of them.

The immediate impact of the Junta/Globalist victory in the internal struggle was renewed sharp rhetoric against North Korea (Bannon’s suggestion the there was no acceptable military option may have been one proximate cause of his ejection) and, even more so, Trump’s speech on Afghanistan on August 21 in front of a military audience.

Before addressing the specifics, it’s important to note that his remarks not only signaled a humiliating defeat of Trumpism within Trump’s own administration but reflected the damage done by the vicious attacks he has suffered for speaking the truth about events in Charlottesville. His offense: to affirm that responsibility for violence lay not only with the «white nationalists» but also with the armed Antifa «protesters» bent on attacking them. In fact, to anyone with a fair mind watching the TV coverage, it was clear that the violence overwhelmingly came from the latter, abetted by the evidently deliberate decision of Virginia Governor and likely 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Terry McAuliffe to withdraw police separation of the two sides and herd the nationalists up against Antifa.

While not mentioning Charlottesville by name, the entire beginning section of Trump’s Afghanistan speech – his first prime time televised address to the nation as president – stuck to a politically correct script, ritually intoning that «there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate.» (In yet another zigzag, the very next night, at a rally with cheering supporters in Phoenix, Trump read back aloud his previous comments on Charlottesville and denounced Antifa. The media, notably CNN, dissolved in a deranged fit of rage.)

As to what he now plans for Afghanistan:

It’s not new, it’s same-old same-old: Aside from a few Trumpish rhetorical flourishes, it was a speech that could have been given by President Hillary Clinton or President Jeb Bush. In substance, it was a rehash of the failures of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Only a few details changed. He will loosen rules of engagement for U.S. forces, which among other things will mean more dead Afghans and more Taliban recruits. He will boost troop numbers but won’t tell the enemy – or the American people – by how many; the number 4,000 has been kicked around, but who knows. Finally, no timetables will «guide our strategy», just «conditions on the ground», but what those conditions need to be for us to finally get out are not described either. Nor is there any clue as to how boosting American numbers to about 13,000 will accomplish what 100,000 couldn’t.

«We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own», said the President.  «We are confident they will.» Pure fantasy. On the other hand, Trump completely ignored Afghanistan’s record opium production. Evidently promising to stamp that out would be just too fantastical.

It’s not a strategy, it’s just a policy: One of the problems with being entirely guided by military men is their tendency to focus on their tactical tradecraft. Hopefully that’s something they’re good at. But their knowledge and skill, though vitally important, doesn’t of itself constitute a strategy. Or put another way, professional military men can tell a policymaker how to accomplish what he wants, but they can’t tell him what he wants. The result is a policy composed of various tactics that don’t add up to much of anything except more of what we’ve seen since 2001.

We will not engage in nation-building, said Trump, or tell Afghans how to live. This could mean no more nagging them over laws mandating the killing of apostates or about women’s rights. («Don’t throw acid in the face of little girls because they attend school. That’s not nice.») We weren’t doing much of that anyway, but now it’s official: Americans are fighting to make Afghanistan safe for Sharia. (Paradoxically, Trump was reportedly convinced that Afghanistan is not doomed to be a Hobbesian abode of savages by McMaster’s showing him a picture of mini-skirted Afghan female students from the 1970s. As Justin Raimondo points out, the good general surely neglected to mention the reason there are no more mini-skirts to be seen is because of our support, with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, for Osama bin Laden and his ilk. Mission accomplished!)

On the other hand, is it telling Afghans how to live when Trump promised to root out corruption? (What Americans are calling corruption is what in Afghanistan is usually just called «life.») Indeed, very little was said about what the Afghan government thinks about the «new» plan. But then again, we barely care what Seoul thinks about deploying the THAAD system in South Korea, so why should we ask the opinions of an Afghan government that wouldn’t last a week without American support? One is reminded of the Soviet-era quip that Afghanistan was the most peace-loving country in the world. Why? Because it doesn’t even interfere in its own internal affairs.

Regionally, Trump vowed to force Pakistan to stop providing safe haven for the Taliban (sure, that will work) and to get India more involved. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that in addition to «putting the pressure on Pakistan» Washington would «put the pressure on India that they have to be part of the political solution.» Just like we «pressure» North Korea, or «pressure» China on Korea and the South China Sea, and «pressure» Russia on Syria, Ukraine, what have you. Pressure, pressure, pressure! Doesn’t anyone in Washington know how to talk with anyone to seek common interests? Why no mention of the three regional powers – Russia, China, and Iran – that like India (but unlike Pakistan) don’t want an Afghanistan ruled by Salafists? Now that could be a strategy.

It’s not Trump’s policy, it’s the Swamp’s: Trump pretty much let the cat out of the bag when he conceded that his first impulse was to get out of Afghanistan. (Interestingly the reflexively pro-war Washington Post and National Review published calls for the U.S. to withdraw our forces, saying Trump’s earlier instinct was right! Be prepared for them to rip out his liver when things turn out badly.) But then Trump talked with the big boys with the short haircuts who explained the facts of life to him. He seems to have bought the Swamp’s line that because Obama «hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq» the result was ISIS. Nonsense. ISIS came into being because (a) we invaded Iraq in the first place and (b) for years Obama armed terrorists seeking to overthrow the government of Syria, continuing a policy in place since the 1980s Afghanistan war against the USSR. Given such assumptions, the most optimistic hope is for a «surge» like that in Iraq in 2007, which at least superficially stabilized Anbar province and Baghdad. Again, very optimistically, that could provide cover for us to withdraw our forces. More likely, given the fear of «hastily and mistakenly» withdrawing Obama-style, we will stay for an indefinite period amounting to a permanent occupation. After all, look how long we’ve been successfully stabilizing Germany, Japan, and South Korea!

The sad fact is that Trump almost certainly knows all this, at least on a gut level. What exactly the exact political alchemy is that has led him to this juncture is open for speculation. But what is not speculative is the grim fact that whether or not this is Trump’s policy, Afghanistan is now Trump’s war.

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Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Start readying lots of body bags, eh Trumpy???? I trust none of your family members will ever have to make a showing in Afghanistan eh????

Terry Ross
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Terry Ross

Perhaps he could be given a John Kirby style warning:
“..Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there
in Syria Afghanistan to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian American interests, perhaps even Russian American cities. Russia The US will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft”

Can you imagine the response of Western media if Maria Zakharova had said this?

samo war
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samo war

tramp is julius ceasar 2 ?

Constantine
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Constantine

That was one of the best articles by Jatras.

bluewater
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bluewater

THE REAL REASON WE ARE IN AFGHANISTAN ……. Ronald Bernard – “Have Our Hearts Turned to Stone?” The truth is painful. It is hard to listen to. Ronald Bernard is a former Dutch banker who confirms everything we have been saying about the Illuminati. They are depraved psychopaths who follow a perverse Luciferian creed much as a devout Christianfollows Christ’s example. Unfortunately they run the world, or at least the West. Apart from satanic ritual sacrifice, they are engaged in ARMS, DRUGS and HUMAN TRAFFICKING, including sex and organ trafficking. Here are some of the “highlights” of his latest video… Read more »

bluewater
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bluewater

Afghanistan has the largest resource of Lithium in the world which is needed for your SMARTPHONES and Electronics…. US Department of Defense’s estimates have put Afghanistan’s untapped wealth of gold, copper, uranium and other rare-earth minerals at well around $1 trillion to $3 trillion,plus the largest resource of lithium in the world,as well as heroin. The BBC has promoted lithium in drinking water! Most people know that lithium acts as a powerful mind control drug, to make people compliant. Most people know that it is a long standing psych ward staple. I guess people had an awareness of lithium serving… Read more »

Nancyrcockerham
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Nancyrcockerham

Google is paying 97$ per hour! work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!
On tuesday I got a Smart new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
:!ap112d:
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GeorgeG
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GeorgeG

The factional line-up in the US looks to me like an irrelevant dichotomy, and probably always was. I keep Vladmir Putin’s quip in mind: I know what the American stratgegy is, and I will explain it,… after I retire.” From the standpoint of American factional cliffhanger fights, this must be a funny statement, because the Americans don’t (or didn’t) seem to have a strategy at all, but Putin says he knows what *the* American strategy is. The hostility or opposition beween the two major grpups falls apart when one considers that Steve Bannon is no anti-imperialist, not with his “maniacal”… Read more »

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

Breaking News!

New Zealand decided to support more the war in Afghanistan, by increasing its contingent there with 33%!
Thus, the number of New Zealenders will pass from 10 to 13!

Terry J Wall
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Terry J Wall

As General Rommel was heard to say during WWII: Give me a Brigade of New Zealanders and I could conquer the world. Bit optimistic I suspect, but like the Russians, you don’t want to piss them off.

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

13 make hardly a “brigade”.

Herbert Dorsey
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Herbert Dorsey

The Afghan people were better off under the communist rule of the 1970s. When Trilateralist Jimmy Carter O.K.ed the CIA training of anti-communist terrorist in Afghanistan, he opened the terrorist can of worms that has affected the world ever since. As Laverov has stated, The U.S. changes Presidents, but the policy remains the same. By now, most informed people understand that Afghanistan had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, which was an inside job or false flag operation to whip up support for a never-ending war on terror where ever the MIC people desire. And, the CIA conveniently supplies… Read more »

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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.

Published

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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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