Today, The Globe & Mail published an explosive report that claims the office of prime minister Justin Trudeau "pressured" former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene to mitigate prosecution against Montreal-based construction company SNC-Lavalin.
It was her refusal to do so, the report suggests, that prompted the prime minister to reassign her to the Ministry of Veterans Affairs.
The hours since have seen a whirlwind of political activity. The opposition party has pounced on what Andrew Scheer has called "incredibly disturbing" allegations. The Conservative leader has released a video in which he calls on the prime minister to "come clean" and earlier today pressed current Justice Minister David Lametti for answers on the floor of the House of Commons.
TL;DR A report from The Globe & Mail alleges that the prime minister's office attempted to get the former justic minister to interfere with prosecution against SNC-Lavalin, a Montreal-based construction company charged with fraud and bribery.
Justin Trudeau must immediately come clean about who in his office allegedly pressured the Justice Minister to interfere in a criminal prosecution. Nothing short of full disclosure is acceptable. WATCH QP LIVE: https://t.co/uPAdiYBlMD— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) February 7, 2019
Here is a simple outline of the events described in The Globe & Mail report:
In 2015, the RCMP charged SNC-Lavalin for fraud and bribery allegedly committed in Libya in the last decade. The company attempted to forgo a trial with a deal through which it would admit to some wongful activity and pay a fine.
Within three years, the Trudeau government passed legislation that would allow such a deal.
Prosecutors in the Justice Ministry, however, moved forward with prosecution that would result in a trial.
In response, the report alleges, the prime minister's office attempted to get Wilson-Raybould to step in to alter prosecutors' tactics. She rejected this proposal.
Then, in January of this year, the government moved her from the Justic Ministry to Veterans Affairs.
The prime minister has denied that he or his office "pressured" Wilson-Raybould to make any prosecutorial decisions.
Andrew Scheer has accused the Trudeau's office of not acting with full transparency. "Nothing short of full disclosure is acceptable," he stated today.
Additional details are sure to emerge as this situation unfolds.
The speed with which the Conservatives responded to these allegations implies that this will become a protracted political fight and core issue in the months leading up to the October federal election.