Newly released text messages show disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok asked to speak to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page about a “media leak strategy” during a crucial period of the Trump-Russia investigation in 2017.
The text messages were revealed Monday by North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, a member of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.
“Our review of these new documents raises grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at the FBI and DOJ related to ongoing investigations,” Meadows wrote to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the letter, which was obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation and first reported by Sara Carter.
Meadows pointed to text messages Strzok sent to Page on April 10, 2017, and April 12, 2017
NurPhoto via Getty Images
If you’re trying to make sense out of the NAFTA negotiations, where Canada is suddenly rushing to avoid being shut out of a US-Mexico deal, consider this: With his insufferable moral arrogance, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been cruising for a bruising — and now he’s gotten it.
Given Trudeau’s attempt to reinvent the country as the smarmy Eddie Haskell of nations, it’s been fun to watch — but let’s make sure it doesn’t end up costing both Canada and the United States.
Trudeau’s first rude awakening, by the way, didn’t come at the hands of Team Trump. Justin had become a laughingstock when visiting India last February, where he dressed the family Bollywood-style. Even the Indians thought he was a joke.
More serious was his next reality check, via the Saudis. The Canadian foreign ministry had tweeted that Saudi Arabia should release women’s-rights activists, and the Saudis responded by closing their embassy, ordering Saudi students to return home and freezing all trade ties. Diplomatically, that’s going rogue.
Remarkably, the US refused to take sides. Our State Department simply asked both parties to work it out.
Then came Trump’s rebuff of Trudeau over the NAFTA talks. The Canadians had assumed they were in the driver’s seat, and presented a set of initial demands that were guaranteed to infuriate Trump. They wanted gender equality and native rights to be on the table, and suggested that right-to-work laws were an unfair trade practice.
They took their time bargaining, and let the Mexicans know that they’d look after them. They knew Trump had problems with Mexico and told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto they’d stick up for him.
Except that Justin had gone out of his way to annoy Trump. When the G-7 assembled in Quebec last June, Trudeau prepared the wokiest of politically correct topics to discuss, and showed he was peeved when Trump turned up late at a session.
It all came undone over the last two weeks. First, the Mexicans, to whom the Canadians had condescended, showed that they didn’t need Trudeau’s help and cut a deal with Trump that excluded Canada. Of course we want Canada to be included in NAFTA, they said. But you have to understand that, for us, Mexico comes first and we need a trade deal with the US.
So much for the three amigos.
After the deal with Mexico was announced, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland cut short a European visit to come to Washington and negotiate with the US trade representative. While the talks were ongoing, the Toronto Star revealed that Trump had said off the record that the United States wasn’t going to bend on any item. If they had problems with that, he said he had an easy answer. He’d show them a picture of the Chevy Impala, which is made in Oshawa, Ontario, and shipped to the US duty-free under NAFTA.
If NAFTA goes down, Canada will be the big loser, especially in its auto industry, where 120,000 Canadian jobs are at stake. But we also would be losers. The auto industry has suppliers on both sides of the border and just-in-time production methods would put thousands of Americans immediately out of work if Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge were shut down for a few days. As it is, more US trade crosses over that bridge than our entire trade with Japan.
Trump worries about trade deficits, but we’re running a trade surplus in goods and service with Canada, and it’s one of the very few countries of which that can be said. It’s the most important trading partner for 35 states, and as many as 9 million US jobs depend on trade with Canada.
It’s not as if there will be much daylight between the two countries, when trade negotiations begin on Wednesday. We’re not happy with Canada’s supply-management system, which subsidizes eggs and milk products — and that’s something the Canadians should be happy to give up, since it costs the average Canadian family $150 a year.
The Canadians also want a dispute-resolution mechanism, which could prove an advantage to the US as well as Canada. Everybody cheats, and it wouldn’t hurt to have neutral parties work things out.
So both sides should be able to compromise and get to yes. Given the two leaders’ personalities, it’s easy to see how the Canada-US deal could fall apart. Let’s hope it doesn’t.
F.H. Buckley is the author of the new book “The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was Just What We Needed.”
If this case gets tossed, the justice system is in terrible shape.
At the hearing, in Poweshiek County, Cristhian Bahena Rivera’s attorney, Allan Richards, argued against allowing expanded news media coverage of the case and shed some light on Rivera’s life before Tibbetts’ death.
“The coverage that’s out there is leaning all one way and, in fact, [the] government has weighed in at the highest levels,” Richards said in court.
Authorities have described Rivera as an undocumented immigrant and both pundits and politicians, including President Donald Trump, have invoked the case as a talking point in ongoing immigration debates.
Tibbetts’ relatives appear to have rebuked such rhetoric, however, with her aunt writing, in part: “Evil comes in EVERY color.”
“In our system of justice, he’s entitled to that presumption of innocence until some evidence is presented,” Richards continued. “Portraying Cristhian as something that he isn’t, in some ways I view that as a political payback for what’s swirling around.”
Experts often say that trade wars can spread easily — and here's an example from right here at home in Canada.
The federal government is planning new tariffs and quotas on steel from China and certain other as-yet unknown countries, according to a report at Bloombergnews service.
But this isn't the result of some new protectionist streak among the governing Liberals — it's the outcome of the brutal logic of trade wars. Canada is trying to to prevent the dumping of Chinese steel on the domestic market in the wake of the Trump administration's steel tariffs.
Along with the European Union, Canada is concerned China could engage in "dumping"; steel that was meant for the U.S., now with no buyer, could instead be sold below cost in Canada or elsewhere.
A spokesperson for the federal Department of Finance declined to comment on the report, but noted in an email to HuffPost Canada that the government has already taken steps to protect Canadian steelmakers from the possibility of aggressive competition in the wake of a trade war.
Among other steps, the government announced earlier this year it is beefing up Canada Border Services Agency''s budget, adding 40 new officers to handle trade-related complaints.
"Canada is a trading nation, and we will not allow North American industries to be hurt or threatened by unfair trade practices, like the diversion of steel and aluminum," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in March.
At that time, Canada was exempt from the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, making it a distinct possibility that Chinese and other exporters would use Canada to access U.S markets. Trudeau vowed Canada would not be "used as a backdoor" into the U.S.
But with tariffs now in place on steel going to the U.S., the focus has shifted to protecting Canadian manufacturers from aggressive competition from abroad.
Read more HERE
A trickle of Canadian oil-drilling rigs heading south of the border this year has turned into a steady stream – a movement of equipment the energy industry says it hasn’t seen in decades.
The United States’ booming oil plays are a potent enticement as Canada’s energy sector struggles to regain the activity and investment it had before the oil-price crash four years ago. And U.S. President Donald Trump’s full-on embrace of U.S. energy independence and his administration’s loosening of environmental rules has been a shot in the arm for his country’s oil and gas industry.
The opportunity for more work, along with the partial or full payment of moving costs, are driving Canadian companies south. At least half a dozen Alberta drilling firms are sending some of their most powerful and newest technology rigs – and sometimes crews – to the United States.
“It shows you how Canada is kind of missing out on the rebound the U.S. is enjoying,” said Precision Drilling Corp. chief executive Kevin Neveu regarding his firm’s decision to move a $25-million rig from Alberta’s Deep Basin to the Marcellus play in Pennsylvania in the weeks ahead.
Already, firms such as Akita Drilling Ltd., Trinidad Drilling Ltd. and Ensign Energy Services Inc. have said they will make similar moves. Savanna Energy Services Corp. relocated a rig and crews from Canada to Texas early this year.
Now joining the migration is Citadel Drilling Inc., which said this week that it’s transporting three of its fleet of six drilling rigs to the Permian Basin. The three rigs are being outfitted for heat instead of cold and some crew members will also be moved to West Texas.
“We’re not generating profits for our shareholders. We’re treading water financially, at best,” said chief executive Dan Hoffarth, saying the small private firm with about 100 employees agonized over the decision.
He cites the “self-imposed” issues that are hindering investment in Canada, including a lack of pipeline access that weakens the price that oil producers can get for their products, carbon taxes and legislation that would prohibit tankers from carrying crude from ports in northern B.C., while oil imports from overseas flow freely into Canada.
“This was a need, not a want,” Mr. Hoffarth said of the move to the United States.
For its part, Precision already has major U.S. operations. In the past, however, the public company had said it would not move Canadian equipment across the border. But Mr. Neveu said activity for Precision in the United States is 75 per cent of what it was from the peak in 2014, while Canadian activity is about one-third of what it was. Long in the business, Mr. Neveu said this is the first time he has seen Canadian equipment move to the United States in any significant way since the 1980s – the days of the National Energy Program.
Read more HERE
Canadians are in no mood to coddle Donald Trump.
A new survey from Angus Reid finds 70 per cent of respondents want Ottawa to play hardball with the Trump administration in the growing trade dispute between our two countries. Only 30 per cent would like to take a "soft" approach in the hopes of placating the temperamental U.S. leader.
The survey — taken before, during and after the G7 summit that ended with a Trump Twitter tirade against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — finds Trudeau's approval rating has spiked higher amid the trade conflict, with 52 per cent giving thumbs-up to the prime minister's performance, up from 40 per cent in March.
So we're on board for a gloves-off fight with the orange-tinted occupant of the White House. But do we really know what we're getting ourselves into?
The simple reality is that Canada's economy is far more dependent on trade with the U.S. than the other way around. Far, far more. To illustrate that point, analysts at National Bank of Canada published a map this week highlighting how much each province and U.S. state depends on trade across the 49th parallel.
NATIONAL BANK FINANCIAL
No U.S. state comes close to being as dependent on cross-border trade as Ontario, where 49 per cent of economic output is linked to U.S. trade, or New Brunswick, where it's 50 per cent.
In an economic fight with the U.S., we would inevitably be bringing a knife to a gunfight.
National Bank Financial Markets geopolitical analyst Angelo Katsoras, who put together the map, says there's something that could hurt Canada more than Trump's trade tariffs, and that's the uncertainty that seemingly endless NAFTA negotiations are creating.
Companies don't want to invest into uncertain climates, and when business investment stalls, so does job creation.
"The bad news is that the longer negotiations drag on, the riskier investing in Canada and Mexico could become for companies looking for guaranteed access to the U.S. market," Katsoras wrote in a client note.
He quoted a recent Financial Post column that he says "best summed up" the situation Canada is in:
With NAFTA in place, Canada is an option when globally oriented firms considered their North American strategies; without it, Canada is a smallish market that probably can be served from the U.S. or elsewhere.
Ouch. That certainly puts things in perspective.
"Given the prospect of never-ending negotiations, we can expect more and more people to challenge ... Trudeau's declaration that a bad deal would be worse than no deal," Katsoras wrote.
"In their view, a flawed deal should be preferred to the risk of seeing certain companies choosing not to invest in Canada."
U.S. also exposed to risks of a trade war
That's not to say the U.S. could walk away from a trade war unscathed. As we reported last year, the majority of U.S. states have Canada as their largest export market:
What's more, Trump is likely to pay a higher political price than Trudeau if a trade war leads to economic pain domestically. As the survey above shows, Canadians are likely willing to give Trudeau a lot of leeway fighting Trump's protectionism.
But "the political blowback from states (including those that voted for him), businesses and Congress could overwhelm (Trump's) administration," Katsoras wrote.
"Going beyond threats would also seriously risk one of Trump's main talking points: the strong performance of the economy and the financial markets under his watch."
For that reason, Katsoras still believes that Trump won't pull the trigger and cancel NAFTA.
But can we really count on Trump to do the rational thing? With steel and aluminium tariffs in place, and Trump already talking about expanding tariffs to include auto imports, it hardly seems like the U.S. president is about to turn friendly towards Canada.
The experts have been telling us for years that Canada needs to diversify its trading partners; we can't simply rely on the U.S. forever. Those words ring more true than ever today, but it seems we may have waited too long, and there's precious little we can do but fight a trade war in defense of our economic interests.
We have to ask ourselves, just how much wealth are we willing to risk fighting Trump? And how much choice do we actually have?
“I took it straight to the ground and started inching my hands up to its throat. I knew that was the only way I was getting out of this,” said 46-year-old DeDe Phillips.
ATHENS, Ga. — A rabid bobcat recently attacked a Hart County grandmother in her yard, spurring a furious battle that ended with the cat’s strangulation death.
“I thought, ‘Not today.’ There was no way I was going to die,” DeDe Phillips said Thursday as she recalled the attack that occurred June 7 at her home off Liberty Church Road.
Phillips has begun a round of rabies shots at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. She also has a broken finger and numerous bite and claw wounds to her hands, arms, chest and legs.
“I’m very lucky,” the 46-year-old woman said.
The unprovoked attack occurred about 6 p.m. She had been working on her truck that afternoon and posted a bumper sticker that read: “Women who behave rarely make history.” She planned to photograph the sticker and send it to her husband.
She walked out of the house with her cellphone.
“My neighbor’s dog was barking, and it drew my attention,” she said. “I saw the cat and I took a picture. The cat took two steps and was on top of me. ... It came for my face.”
The Trudeau Liberals call Bill C-48 the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act.
But it’s not a tanker ban at all. It’s a product blockade. And most of the blocked products are from Alberta.
“This bill is an attempt to further restrict the oilsands,” says Alberta Sen. Doug Black, who promises a major fight on second reading in the fall.
The Alberta NDP pitched in Wednesday with a written request to object at Senate hearings.
Black says: “Bill C-48 is a direct aim at the oilsands and at Alberta’s ability to refine products and ship them. Right to the heart!”
From the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Alaska, the bill would prohibit loading shipments of everything from diluted bitumen to oil and gas condensates.
You have to wonder why, if Ottawa is so keen on banning tankers, the bill didn’t just block ships from coming to port.
It doesn’t do that. Rather, it bans loading of a long list of common crude and refined products, many of which, like propane, could be shipped to Asia.
In her letter to the Senate, Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd wrote:
“Alberta continues to have serious concerns with this legislation’s treatment of persistent oils, such as partially upgraded bitumen, and particularly condensates.”
Ottawa has steadily added more products to the ban, citing spill concerns.
The province says this shotgun approach threatens billions in revenue and refining projects.
“Many stakeholders are supportive of shipping these products off B.C’s north coast,” says McCuaig-Boyd.
“It is also worth noting that tankers have been safely moving along Canada’s West Coast since the 1930s.”
Read more HERE
Premier Moe says Saskatchewan won't help source oil for Canada if Alberta decides to cut supply
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he'll stand by Alberta if the province decides to restrict oil exports to pressure British Columbia to abandon its opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
Moe said he would "absolutely" encourage Rachel Notley, his Alberta counterpart, to cut off domestic exports of its oil.
"If the fuel tanks start to run dry because Premier Notley has turned the tap off, it won't be Saskatchewan filling them up," the premier told CBC Radio's The House.
Though Saskatchewan isn't connected to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, the delays in getting the $7.4 billion expansion completed are affecting rail shipments of grain and other products in and out of the province because a lot of oil is moving by train, Moe said.
In early February, B.C. Premier John Horgan proposed restrictions on bitumen shipments that would flow through the expanded pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast. In response, Premier Notley pulled Alberta back from purchasing hydro power and wine from its western neighbour.
B.C. is asking the courts to decide if it has the power to limit how much diluted bitumen can flow through pipelines in the province.
The war escalated a few weeks later when Notley floated the idea of cutting oil shipments from Alberta entirely.
Though the issue revolves around the two westernmost provinces, Moe said he'd back Notley if she decided to cut oil supplies to any market.
"I think she can turn them off to wherever she has access to until we ensure that this pipeline that has been approved by our federal government is starting construction."
Federal government slow to intervene
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to stand his ground on the expansion, saying it will be built.
"We're just going to reiterate that the decision we made was in the national interest and we're going to move forward with that decision, which means we're going to get the Trans Mountain pipeline built," he said.
But there has been no action since that statement in February — and words alone aren't enough for Notley.
South Africa’s proposed move towards land expropriation without compensation is catching the attention of some very important people across the world.
Peter Dutton, the Australian Home Affairs Minister, certainly qualifies as one of them. He was speaking to the media on Wednesday and said that creating a fast-track visa for “persecuted” white South African farmers was up for consideration:
“If you look at the footage and read the stories, you hear the accounts, it’s a horrific circumstance they face. From what I have seen, they [white South African farmers] need help from a civilised country like ours.”
“We want people who want to come here, abide by our laws, integrate into our society, work hard, not lead a life on welfare. And I think these people deserve special attention and we’re certainly applying that special attention now.”
Fast-track visas for white South African farmers?
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Dutton has directed the Home Affairs Department to explore whether the farmers can be accepted into Australia through refugee, humanitarian or other visas, including the in-country persecution visa category.
The minister’s comments prompted Australian media to report on farm murders in South Africa. This will no doubt be something that Peter Dutton will use to his advantage if he tries to pursue this legislation.
Should farmers get “refugee” status?
The fears over land expropriation without compensation have been developing since Parliament passed an ANC motion, allowing the party to go ahead and implement their redistribution plans.
The DA has staunchly expressed their opposition, claiming that a non-compensatory approach is bad news for the economy. They are against expropriation – which gives land to the state – and favour reform, which aims to focus on issues of restitution.
Dutton completed his address by saying he was “confident” Australia could agree on a deal with the South African government.
In the wake of the Florida student shootings that have galvanized anti-gun Americans and Canadians, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale promised Thursday he will table legislation “within weeks” to complete Liberal gun-control election commitments.
Goodale said he was impressed by U.S. public reaction to the Parkland, Florida, shootings and subsequent decisions by at least two national retail chains in the U.S. to hike the gun-buying age to 21 or stop selling assault-style rifles.
In Canada, the national outdoor equipment retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op reacted quickly Thursday to a sudden and fast-growing online petition and announced it would discontinue lines of sport and outdoor accessory brands owned by a company that also owns Savage Arms Company, one of the biggest gun manufacturers in the U.S. that has a Canadian subsidiary.
“It’s amazing, the commercial and personal outpouring in response to the Florida situation, compared to others where that didn’t seem to happen,” Goodale said. “The impact of this one seems to be far more profound, and may bring about significant change in attitudes.”
Goodale first promised a bill to implement remaining Liberal gun control promises last October, in the aftermath of a mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, where a lone gunman used several semi-automatic rifles to kill 58 people at an outdoor music festival and injure another 850.
“We’re working on the final detail right now. It’s just about ready to go to the House, not quite, I hope to be table it in Parliament within the next very few weeks.” Goodale told iPolitics.
“Part of the difficulty in this period is we’ve got the budget process and we’ve got these two weeks on (in Parliament), two weeks off, two weeks on, which drives me crazy in terms of logistics,” he said.
Goodale said one of the Liberal promises that might need legislative amendments — a requirement for all vendors to keep records of firearm inventory and sales to assist in police investigations and gun crimes — is already a practice of firearm retailers.
“The requirement that is mentioned in the platform, with respect to commercial inventories, is no different than what (Canadian gun retailers) are already doing, it’s just normal commercial practice, normal practice that is the standard pretty well the right across North America, including places like Arkansas and Texas,” Goodale said.
Goodale last November announced $327 million over five years toward anti-gang programs and a crackdown on gun crime. The Liberal platform promised $100 million annually, but Goodale said the regular annual transfers would begin after the first five-year period ends, in 2012.
Legislative changes would be required for other aspects of the campaign platform, including tightening down on transport permits for prohibited firearms and restricted handguns and rifles, including assault-style semi-automatics that can only be used at licensed gun clubs and shooting ranges.
The Canadian Firearms Registry shows a total of 979 AR-15 semi-automatic rifles — the kind used in the Parkland shootings — registered to individuals, business and museums in Canada to the end of January, 2017.
A total of 6,756 AR-15 variants were registered up to that time, a copy of the registry shows, while an RCMP table released under an access to information request shows a total of 52,131 “AR-15 type rifles and variants” were registered up to the end of December, 2016.