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These 6 Republicans are connected to the insider trading scandal that just exploded on a Trump-loving congressman

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On Wednesday, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) was arrested for insider trading. Collins allegedly shared non-public information about Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian drug company developing a drug to treat multiple sclerosis.

When that drug failed a clinical trial in Australia, the company’s stock plummeted. Collins is accused of telling his son about the disappointing results ahead of the public announcement, leading his son, his son’s father-in-law, and others to unload stocks before the drop. They avoided losing $768,000, according to the indictment.

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For years, Collins’ relationship to Innate raised concerns in the Capitol.

In 2017, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), called for an investigation, citing Collins’ cozy relationship with the biotech drug company after its value dropped. The New York Republican held a 16 percent stake in the company.

“Innate plummeted in value by more than 90 percent literally overnight. This follows the company previously suggesting a great response to its drug and touting that it stood to generate as much as $3 billion in profits in this country alone,” Slaughter said in a statement.

“This raises very serious questions as to when Congressman Collins knew about the drug’s performance and who is responsible for the suspicious trading before the drug’s failure was publicly known. Did Congressman Collins come here to make money for himself or to represent his constituents? This development only raises more questions, and we need to get the answers. It cries out for an investigation.”

Collins, worth $66 million, apparently urged Republican colleagues in Congress to invest.

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“If you get in early, you’ll make a big profit,” Collins reportedly told House Republicans last summer.

At least six Republicans appear to have been convinced by Collins’ pitch (though at various times they claimed to have arrived at the stock purchase through media reports).

They were:

1. Tom Price, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services. During his confirmation hearings, Price was accused of taking advantage of a special deal on Innate stock only available to a select number of lawmakers at a discount offered by Collins.

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2. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX): The Texas Republican claimed he heard about Innate from media reports, but as the Houston Chronicle noted, it’s not clear which. At the time of his purchase, Innate was described as “a tiny pharmaceutical company from Australia that has no approved drugs and no backing from flashy venture capital firms.” The Chronicle pointed out that Culberson’s past investment history does not square with his purchase of biotech stocks and his opponent, a research physician, has wondered what led Culberson to invest, “since at the time he bought it in January there had been no published research articles or significant clinical trial updates on the drug, known as MIS416.”

3. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) is another Texas lawmaker who bought large shares in Innate. He does not appear to have purchased Innate stock at a discount.

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4. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) serves on the House Armed Services and Natural Resources subcommittees.

5. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) sat on the House Health Subcommittee.

6. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) reportedly became far more active in the stock market in 2015. Long sat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which addresses health policy.

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According to the indictment, Collins was shocked when he was informed about the drug’s failed trial.

“Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???” he wrote to the CEO of Innate.

After entering office in 2013, Collins worked on passing a provision that would speed up the drug approval process, reports the Buffalo News.


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Buffalo has a long history of protecting cops from criminal charges: report

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On Saturday, The Daily Beast documented the recent history of use of force in the Buffalo Police Department, which is reeling from controversy as two officers face assault charges for shoving a 75-year-old protester to the ground.

"As shocking as this all may be to outsiders, the shoving of demonstrator Martin Gugino and the defiant response of officers to an effort to discipline two of their own is indicative of the state of police affairs in Buffalo," wrote Jim Heaney. "Has been for a long time, not that you have to go back too far to find other episodes of brutality that have been captured on video."

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Internet disgusted after Buffalo first responders cheer cops charged with assaulting 75-year-old protester

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Commenters on Twitter expressed both contempt and disgust for Buffalo firefighters and police officers who turned out in front of Buffalo City Court to support two suspended police officers with applause and cheering.

Moments after officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault and then released without having to post bail, they were greeted as heroes outside the courthouse.

After a video was posted showing the celebration, commenters on Twitter vented at cops and firefighters for defending the two officers who assaulted the 75-year-old man who had to be rushed to a hospital after they shoved him to the ground where he sustained a head injury.

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Donald Trump’s lurch toward fascism is backfiring spectacularly

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

During the 2016 campaign, as Donald Trump railed against "Mexican rapists" and other "criminal aliens," pollsters found that the share of Americans who said that immigrants worked hard and made a positive contribution to our society increased significantly, and noticed a similar decline in the share who said they take citizens' jobs and burden our social safety net. After Trump was elected and began pursuing his Muslim ban, the share of respondents who held a positive view of Islam also increased pretty dramatically. I'm not aware of any polling of the general public about transgender troops serving in the military before Trump decided to discharge them, but Gallup found that 71 percent of respondents opposed his position after he did.

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