Gerald Butts — Justin Trudeau’s Principal Secretary, a close friend, and mastermind behind the Prime Minister’s dealings — has resigned.
This resignation, shared over Twitter, comes at a time when Butts and others in the Prime Minister’s Office are accused of pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to abandon the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.
“I categorically deny the accusation that I or anyone else in [the Prime Minister’s] office pressured Ms. Wilson-Raybould,” Butts said in his statement.
“Any accusation that I or the staff put pressure on the Attorney General is simply not true.”
In a shocking report from the Globe and Mail, it was accused that PMO officials pressured Wilson-Raybould into abandoning the prosecution of Quebec-based multinational SNC-Lavalin, which is accused of using bribery to win government contracts.
His resignation comes after opposition parties have called for him testify to the Justice Committee on the matter.
The Liberals used their majority on the committee to block Butts and Wilson-Raybould from being called as witnesses.
“This is a massive new development… He would not be leaving the job if this were not extremely serious,” said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre posted to Twitter.
Ms.Wilson-Raybould has since resigned from cabinet and has taken retired Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell as her lawyer on this matter.
Butts and Trudeau have been friends for years, dating back to their time at McGill.
Prior to joining Justin Trudeau federally, Butts was the Principal Secretary of former Liberal Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty.
Butts, often perceived as the brains of the PMO, has been a longtime champion of carbon taxes and believes in phasing out all carbon-based energy sources.
Both Trudeau and Butts have denied the allegations against them, but it is unclear how deep the SNC-Lavalin affair really goes after this bombshell resignation.