Former Canadian justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould testifies before the House of Commons justice committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, on Wednesday.
Over almost four hours of explosive testimony Wednesday, Wilson-Raybould told the House of Commons justice committee there were 10 meetings and 10 phone calls involving 11 people between September and December 2018, all aimed at getting her to "politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in my role as the attorney general of Canada".
Wilson-Raybould said during her testimony that she did not feel that any illegal activity transpired by other Liberal officials who allegedly pressured her, but that she did feel it was "inappropriate" and "treading on unsafe ground". He says he disagrees with Wilson-Raybould's characterizations of the events, saying he and his staff acted appropriately and professionally.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer accused the Liberal prime minister's inner circle of possibly attempting to obstruct justice, in a letter to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Brenda Lucki - which the RCMP confirmed to AFP it has received.
"The details are as shocking as they are corrupt", Scheer said in his statement.
Butts, who was named by Wilson-Raybould in her testimony on Wednesday, maintained he did not pressure anybody and that leaving the prime minister's office would allow him to defend his reputation.
Wilson-Raybould, the first indigenous minister of justice and attorney general in Canadian history, had described a sustained effort by government officials to influence her judgement.
Speaking to reporters after an event at the Canadian Space Agency in Quebec, Trudeau said he has "taken knowledge of her testimony and there are still reflections to have on next steps". "The prime minister asked me to help out, to find a solution here for SNC", Wilson-Raybould said.
But the most egregious pressure came the following day, on December 19, when Wilson-Raybould said she received what she deemed to be three "veiled threats" from the clerk of the Privy Council, Wernick, that she could lose her job.
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Wilson-Raybould's account of the campaign to change her mind on SNC-Lavalin included approaches from Trudeau, Butts, Morneau's chief of staff Ben Chin, and the clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick that were directed at her, her chief of staff Jessica Prince, and her deputy minister in the Department of Justice.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he's concerned about potential job losses at SNC-Lavalin, a day after claims by Canada's former attorney general that she was pressured to intervene in the file.
Senior staff wanted her to direct federal prosecutors to defer the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on corruption and fraud charges and move instead to negotiate a remediation agreement, she said.
The political interference from the Prime Minister's Office was apparently all about getting corruption charges against the company deferred in order to shore up Liberal Party support in the province of Quebec.
Initially, after the first Globe and Mail report on the SNC-Lavalin affair, the accusations were dismissed by Trudeau and the PMO. A conviction would bar the company from applying for government contracts for 10 years, and could cost jobs.
Trudeau disputed the nature of the discussions in a news conference, saying that "our government will always focus on jobs", and that his administration was merely debating the impact the case could have on the company's Montreal workforce.
There are numerous Liberal partisans online referring to Jody Wilson-Raybould as a traitor.
Anna Desmarais spoke to TRT World and says the involvement of the prime minister's office, in this case, could be seen as a conflict of interest.