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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

Robert Mueller says his Russia probe did not exonerate U.S. President Donald Trump

Robert Mueller, former special counsel tasked with investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, testified before two House committees today.

The back-to-back appearances – to justice and intelligence committees – were made reluctantly by Mueller, who has indicated that he preferred his report, which was released in a redacted form in April, speak for itself.

What was said:

  • Mueller held fast to his position that, due to Justice Department policy, a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime such as obstruction of justice.
  • The probe did not clear U.S. President Donald Trump of any wrongdoing. Asked whether he had exonerated Trump, Mueller replied flatly: “No.”
  • Asked whether Trump could be charged after he left office, Mueller said yes. “The President was not exculpated for the acts he allegedly committed.”

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Here’s the latest on the B.C. teens who are suspects in three killings

The RCMP continue to search for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, suspects in the roadside slayings of three people in Northern British Columbia and believed to be on the run through Western Canada.

A Rav 4 vehicle police say was used by the teens to flee has been found burned out near the remote Manitoba community of Gillam, about 150 kilometres west of Hudson’s Bay. RCMP have flooded the community with extra resources, and investigators are cautioning the public that the fugitives are armed and should not be approached.

The Ontario Provincial Police have issued a safety warning, as it appears they are heading east.

Details have emerged about the pair’s previous online activities: Their Facebook accounts are linked to another account called “Illusive Gameing.” That username also shows up on YouTube, as well as video-game networks Twitch and Steam. The accounts share similar imagery and themes, including far-right politics, sexualized Japanese anime and the survivalist video game Rust.

The teens are suspects in the killings of American Chynna Deese, Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler and an unidentified man.

A second former envoy says the PMO requested ‘one voice’ in public comments about China

A second former Canadian ambassador to Beijing, Guy Saint-Jacques, says he too received a call from the foreign affairs ministry that delivered a message from the Prime Minister’s Office about the need to avoid contradictory public messaging regarding China.

Yesterday, another Canadian former envoy to China, David Mulroney, said the foreign ministry, speaking on behalf of the PMO, asked him to check with the department before he makes future public statements on Ottawa’s China policy, citing the "election environment.”

Both former diplomats are frequently approached by journalists for comment, particularly since relations between Canada and China have deteriorated following the arrest in Canada of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou in December on an extradition request from the United States.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer dies: Actor Rutger Hauer, best known for his role in science fiction classic Blade Runner, died after a short illness, a Dutch news agency has reported, citing his family. He was 75.

Boris Johnson vows Britain will put out of EU on Oct. 31: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has moved quickly to put a pro-Brexit stamp on his first days in office and convince the country that Britain will pull out of the European Union on Oct. 31, “no ifs or buts.”

Read more: Johnson’s family is (nearly) as colourful as the new PM himself

Jody Wilson-Raybould’s book on reconciliation set for release: Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada, a book written by former justice minister and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould, will be released on Sept. 20, according to her publisher.

CannTrust shares plummet after Globe report: Shares of CannTrust Holdings fell 22 per cent today, a day after The Globe and Mail reported both CannTrust’s chairman and CEO were informed about cannabis being grown in parts of a facility that had not been licensed seven months before Health Canada uncovered the regulatory breach.

No plans for SNC bailout from Quebec: Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon says the province will not offer financial help to SNC-Lavalin Group in spite of the engineering giant’s woes.

Wisconsin Indigenous group suing Enbridge over pipeline: The Bad River Band, an Indigenous group in Wisconsin, is suing Enbridge in a bid to have an oil pipeline that runs across its reservation shut down and removed.

Alexander Neef leaving COC for Paris position: Canadian Opera Company leader Alexander Neef has been named general director of the Opéra national de Paris.

MARKET WATCH

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record closing highs today after reassuring comments from Texas Instruments about global chip demand blunted the impact of weak earnings reports from Boeing and Caterpillar.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79.22 points to 27,269.97, the S&P 500 gained 14.09 points to 3,019.56 and the Nasdaq Composite added 70.10 points to close at 8,321.50.

Canada’s main stock index rose despite losses in the energy and health care sectors. The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index closed 39.16 points higher at 16,611.84.

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TALKING POINTS

In an uncertain world, Boris Johnson’s arrival only poses new challenges for Canada’s next government

“Canada has always depended on, and profited from, a rules-based global order. But what comes next, with that order under threat on multiple fronts, not least the very countries that created those rules in the first place?” - John Ibbitson

Canada’s small-business tax rate should be repealed

“The objective of the preferential rate is to encourage the growth of small businesses by helping them accumulate capital for business expansion. However, economic studies and analyses suggest that Canada’s small-business rate does not contribute to business expansion in any meaningful way.” - Allan Lanthier, former adviser to the federal government on taxation and fiscal policy

LIVING BETTER

With stocks hitting new record highs and the bull market nearly a decade old, it may seem like an odd time to think about the next downturn. But no one can time the markets, so here are four steps investors can take right now to help prepare for the inevitable. They include:

  • Assess your risk tolerance: How much are you willing to lose when - not if - markets turn south as they did this past December?
  • Set clear goals: This gives you something to focus on amid daily market fluctuations.

LONG READ FOR A LONG COMMUTE

The magic power of hazard lights – your car’s get-out-of-jail-free card

Boy, do I wish I had some hazard lights, Andrew Clark writes.

Hazard lights, those red, twinkling beauties that let you do whatever you want, whenever you want. The ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. Sure, they were invented so that drivers in distress could alert other drivers of this fact. They were designed to be a safety feature, but human beings are curious creatures. We possess an uncanny ability to find unorthodox uses for devices that appear, at least on the surface, quite narrow in their application. For instance, we took a portion of the internet, which was created to increase the transfer of knowledge and communication, and turned it into a cyber-sewer vomiting hate around the world.

And so the hazard lights became the ultimate weapon of mass disruption. Want to block the bike lane? Need to pick up some dry-cleaning during rush hour when there is a “no standing” law in effect? Want to park in a disabled parking space? Go ahead, just don’t forget to put on your hazard lights.

If hazard lights were able to speak, they would tell other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, “I’m only breaking the law for a while.” In the mind of the driver who uses hazard lights, the unforgivable becomes the universally acceptable.

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