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Trudeau tries to distance himself from allegations of interference in SNC-Lavalin case

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OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried to distance himself from allegations of improper pressure on former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, telling reporters she has “confirmed” privately to him that he told her last fall the decision on whether to negotiate a deal for SNC-Lavalin on corruption charges was “hers alone.”

But word that the federal ethics commissioner was launching a probe into the affair heightened pressure on the prime minister Monday, who insisted he continues to have “full confidence in Jody.”

And Trudeau said he “welcomed” the federal ethics inquiry by commissioner Mario Dion into the explosive allegation reported last week that senior PMO officials pressured Wilson-Raybould to cut a sweetheart deal for the Quebec company facing bribery and fraud charges. Opposition MPs charge that Wilson-Raybould was bumped from the justice post in January because she resisted that pressure.

At a news conference to announce funding for three Vancouver housing projects, Trudeau was flanked by several of his B.C. MPs and ministers, but Wilson-Raybould who represents the riding of Vancouver Granville was conspicuous by her absence.

The prime minister offered no explanation for why she was not there but twice said he has confidence in her, and that “in our system of government of course her presence in cabinet should speak for itself.”

In other words, she has neither been fired nor has she quit.

Trudeau in French said he twice met with Wilson-Raybould since travelling to Vancouver Sunday, and said she told him she felt solicitor-client privilege prevented her from speaking publicly to allegations published first in the Globe and Mail Thursday.

Since that explosive report, senior government officials acknowledged there was “robust debate” about the SNC-Lavalin file, but deny that Wilson-Raybould was pressured.

On Monday, Trudeau took pains to reveal the content of his own private conversations with Wilson-Raybould in the past two days, which also revealed an exchange he had with her on the topic on an unspecified date last year.

“She confirmed for me a conversation we had this fall where I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone,” Trudeau said.

“I respect her view that due to privilege she cannot comment or add on matters recently before the media and I highlight we’re bound by cabinet confidentiality.”

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer — who has called on the government to waive privilege to allow Wilson-Raybould to publicly address the allegations — pressed Trudeau again on that front Monday.

“Justin Trudeau said he spoke to Jody Wilson-Raybould and he reported on the nature of those conversations. I think it’s time for Justin Trudeau to stop speaking for Jody Wilson-Raybould and let her speak for herself,” Scheer said.

Trudeau said that he has asked Justice Minister David Lametti to look into the “complicated” question of whether the government can or should waive the solicitor-client privilege that surrounds PMO discussions with Wilson-Raybould, who as attorney general was the government’s top legal adviser on the SNC-Lavalin file.

In an Oct. 9, 2018 letter, Kathleen Roussel, the director of public prosecutions, refused SNC-Lavalin’s request that her office issue “an invitation to negotiate” a deferred prosecution agreement. It would have allowed the company to pay a heavy fine and agree to corporate ethical reforms, but avoid registering a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction could impact the firm’s ability to bid on future government contracts. SNC-Lavalin has challenged that refusal in court, and is awaiting a decision.

Trudeau signalled his office would co-operate with the probe launched by Dion, the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner.

“I believe that it’s extremely important that Canadians can continue to have confidence in our system and that’s why I welcome the ethics commissioner’s interest in this matter.”

Trudeau’s spokesman Cameron Ahmad has confirmed publicly that Trudeau’s principal secretary Gerald Butts met with Wilson-Raybould on Dec. 5. He said she raised the SNC-Lavalin file with him, and he told her to speak to Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick about it.

Trudeau said while he always believed the decision “was hers to make,” he had “obviously … heard from premiers, Canadians who are aware of the thousands of jobs at SNC-Lavalin and this is an issue of course that we take seriously as a government.

“But at the same time we ensure that we are upholding the rigour and the independence of our justice system.”

In a letter to two NDP MPs, Dion, the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner, confirmed his probe into the allegations that became public last week, saying he has “reason to believe” that a possible contravention of section 9 of the Conflict of Interest Act has occurred.

That section prohibits a public office holder from seeking to influence a decision of another person to improperly further another person’s private interests.

Cullen said in an interview that the ethics commissioner’s acknowledgment there is something to be probed shows the need for the Commons justice committee to also do its own inquiry.

Read more:

Andrew Scheer met with SNC-Lavalin chief over criminal charges

Top prosecutor defends independence and decision to prosecute SNC-Lavalin

Liberals to block opposition attempt to probe SNC-Lavalin affair

Cullen criticized Lametti for suggesting in a CTV interview that he saw nothing for the justice committee to look into, even as he admitted he had not talked to his predecessor about what pressure if any she felt.

“This hear-no-evil, see-no-evil by the top prosecutor is incredibly disturbing to me,” he said.

In a speech for the Canadian Bar Association Monday afternoon, Lametti said the Canadian system means the attorney general is placed at the cabinet table with the politically-appointed ministers, and can consult with them on important decisions.

“These discussions can improve the quality of decision-making, but there is a line that cannot be crossed: telling an attorney general what a decision ought to be. That would be interference,” he said.

But speaking to reporters after his speech, Lametti was more reluctant to speak than in recent days when he defended the government and said there was nothing he saw to merit an investigation.

And despite having revealed in two weekend interviews that he had not spoken to Wilson-Raybould to hear her side of the story, Lametti said Monday his role as “the government’s lawyer” prevents him from saying whether he has spoken to her about the situation.

Lametti declined to say whether he would advise Trudeau to waive solicitor-client privilege, and declined to comment on the ethics commissioner’s investigation.

He also refused to discuss whether he would consider overruling prosecutors and agree to pursue mediation in the SNC-Lavalin case — even though he told CTV this weekend that such an agreement “remains a possibility.”

The Commons’ justice committee will meet Wednesday to decide whether to launch its own investigation. Conservative and NDP MPs want hearings, with Lametti, Wilson-Raybould and Trudeau’s senior aides called as witnesses.

However the opposition parties doubt those hearings will proceed, given that Liberal MPs hold the majority on the committee and are expected to vote down the motion.

Liberal MP Ali Ehsassi (Willowdale), a member of the committee, told the Star Monday that at this point, he has “no cause to be concerned” about what he has heard so far about the PMO’s dealings with Wilson-Raybould.

“That is because the story was based on anonymous sources. I haven’t seen any facts that would support the contention that there has been a coverup,” Ehssasi said in an interview.

But he said it’s “imperative” to keep an open mind and listen to the discussions Wednesday when the committee meets.

Yet Liberal New Brunswick MP Wayne Long is voicing his support for the committee investigation, saying he was “deeply unsettled” by the allegations. “I am also seeking answers that will clear the air regarding exactly what happened… I believe a full and transparent investigation is necessary,” Long said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Bruce Campion-Smith is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @yowflierTonda MacCharles is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow her on Twitter: @tondamacc

Alex Ballingall is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @aballinga



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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