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With Trump set to nominate Supreme Court choice, Cuomo will rally voters in state Senate GOP districts on abortion issue

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With President Trump set to name his Supreme Court nominee on Monday, Gov. Cuomo will kick off a campaign to call on state Senate Republicans to return to Albany to pass legislation to strengthen the state’s abortion rights laws.

Cuomo will visit the districts of Senate Republicans considered vulnerable in the upcoming November elections while also unveiling a new six-figure digital and television ad campaign on the issue.

Showing the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., and the recent separation of children from their parents on the southern border, Cuomo in the digital ad says that “with this federal government, every day seems to bring a new, frightening challenge. Now it’s an attack on women’s rights.”

“We know what Trump’s Supreme Court wants to do,” Cuomo says in the digital ad touting the need to pass a bill to codify Roe vs. Wade in state law. “We must fight back.”

Cuomo will kick off the effort this week in the districts of state Sens. Terrence Murphy (R-Westchester County), Elaine Phillips (R-Nassau County) and Sue Serrino (R-Dutchess County).

“It’s simple, either come back (to Albany) and vote for it, or all Senate Republicans are against it,” a state Democratic source said. “If (Senate Republican Leader John) Flanagan were smart, he’d take the issue off the table.”

Democrats fear Trump’s Supreme Court pick could lead to the reversal of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion across the country. If repealed, it would be up to each state to decide on the legality of abortions.

In New York, Cuomo and legislative Democrats have been pushing a bill known as the Reproductive Health Act that they say would make sure the provisions of Roe vs. Wade are codified in the state, which passed its abortion legalization law two years before the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling.

State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins recently told the Daily News that the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and the impact it could have on abortion will be a central theme during the upcoming fight for control of the state Senate.
Senate Republicans say Roe vs. Wade stands as the law of the land. And they argue that the proposed state Reproductive Health Act goes even further by adding provisions that allow such things as non-doctors to perform abortions, while claiming it also “waters down” protections for pregnant domestic violence victims.

Without specifically addressing the fact the Republicans have failed to take up the bill to strengthen the state’s abortion laws the past several years, state Senate GOP spokeswoman Candice Giove called it “ironic that Gov. Cuomo constantly talks about New York leading the nation on women’s rights, but his latest demand leaves pregnant domestic violence victims vulnerable.”

Cuomo top aide Melissa DeRosa shot back that “in the time it took for the men leading the Senate Republicans to come up with that bizarre lie, they could have just put the bill on the floor for a straight up-or-down vote. We know it, they know it, and the people of New York won’t stand for it.​”

Cuomo’s primary opponent, actress Cynthia Nixon, along with #VoteProChoice and other progressive groups, are set to hold their own rally in Union Square on Tuesday evening calling for the protection of Roe vs. Wade and for the state Senate GOP to pass the Reproductive Health Act.

“Cuomo has had every opportunity to protect New Yorkers’ reproductive rights, but instead he chose to keep Republicans and (a former group of breakaway Democrats who until April were aligned with the GOP) in power,” Nixon said. “Rather than standing up to the Trump administration, New York’s reproductive laws provide no protection if Republicans are successful in overturning Roe v. Wade. This is inexcusable and we must do better for the families of New York.”

The Senate Republicans currently control the chamber with a bare minimum majority with the help of Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who caucuses with the GOP.

But the Republicans in the last few weeks of the recently concluded legislative session lacked the 32 votes to pass anything without Democratic support because one of their members left on active duty for the Navy.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who heads the Senate Democrats’ campaign efforts, says he will not endorse any of the eight breakaway Dems who earlier this year returned to the fold.

But Gianaris (D-Queens) didn’t rule out backing their challengers.

The Senate Dems as part of a reunification deal agreed not to fund any of the primaries against the breakaway senators. Stewart-Cousins has endorsed the eight former IDC members.

“We’re all one conference,” said Sen. Jose Peralta, a former breakaway Dem from Queens facing a primary challenge. “We’re all moving forward, we’re all working together to take back the majority in January.”

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/ny-pol-lovett-cuomo-abortion-trump-supreme-court-roe-20180706-story.html

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New York Rep. Christopher Collins indicted on insider trading charges

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New York Republican Rep. Christopher Collins has been indicted on insider trading charges, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

“These charges are a reminder that this is a land of laws and that everyone stands before the bar of justice,” Geoffrey Berman, an attorney for the U.S. Southern District of New York, said during a press conference on Wednesday.

The indictment also names the congressman’s son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of his son’s fiancée. The fraud counts relate to securities of an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the 68-year-old congressman served on the board.

“Christopher Collins, the defendent, violated the duties he owed to Innate by passing material; nonpublic information regarding the Drug Trial results to his son, Cameron Collins, the defendent, so that [his son] could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others,” the indictment states. “Cameron Collins traded on the inside information and passed it to Stephen Zarsky.”

Among the charges, the defendants are accused of multiple counts of securities fraud, along with one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count each of making false statements.

All three pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors allege that Collins passed along secrets to his son, Cameron, in June 2017. They say the son traded on the inside information and passed it to Zarsky. They added that Zarsky traded on it and tipped off at least three others.

According to the indictment, Collins specifically got early word that a drug the company developed to treat multiple sclerosis wasn’t performing well in a medical trial and passed on the tip to his son.

Prosecutors said the three avoided over $768,000 in losses by trading ahead of the public announcement of the failed drug trials.

The advocacy group Public Citizen filed a request for an investigation of Collins’ stock dealings with the Office of Congressional Ethics and the Securities and Exchange Commission in January of 2017.

The Republican congressman, who has served New York’s 27th District since 2013, surrendered to federal agents in Manhattan on Wednesday morning and is expected to appear in federal court in lower Manhattan later in the day.

Attorneys representing Collins released the following statement on Wednesday: “We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name. It is notable that even the government does not allege that Congressman Collins traded a single share of Innate Therapeutics stock. We are confident he will be completely vindicated and exonerated.”

In 2017, the House Ethics Committee probed the congressman at the behest of the late Rep. Louise Slaughter. She authored the STOCK Act, which barred lawmakers and aides from using propietary information to trade securities.

The Ethics Committee report on Collins was muddled. It did not punish Collins. But it did not exonerate him either.

When asked about the report by Fox News, Collins at the time called Slaughter “a despicable human being,” a rare moment of course language used by a U.S. congressman to describe a colleague. Collins disputed the findings and said he has “always followed ethics.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on Wednesday that he was removing Collins from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Ryan called insider trading “a clear violation of the public trust.” He said he’s moving against Collins even though a court will decide whether the lawmaker is guilty of the allegations.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that “the charges against Congressman Collins show the rampant culture of corruption and self-enrichment among Republicans in Washington.”

“The American people deserve better than the GOP’s corruption, cronyism, and incompetence,” she added.

Collins has a track record of publicly backing Trump, including being one of the first sitting members of Congress to endorse his candidacy. Most recently, Collins called for an end to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into campaign collusion and blamed the Obama administration for failing to push back on Russia.

“I share President Trump’s continued frustration as the left continues to try to nullify the 2016 Presidential election with claims of Russian interference,” he said.

Collins ran unopposed in the Republican primary and holds what’s largely considered a safe Republican seat in a state that went to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. He’s being challenged by Democrat Nate McMurray, a Grand Island, New York, town supervisor.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/08/new-york-rep-christopher-collins-indicted-on-insider-trading-charges.html

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NRA sues New York officials over what it calls a “blacklisting” campaign

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The National Rifle Association is suffering grave financial harm that threatens its ability to pursue its advocacy mission because of a “blacklisting” campaign by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York regulators, the gun rights group said in a federal lawsuit.  In an amended version of a federal lawsuit filed in May, the Virginia-based NRA said it lost insurance coverage after the state’s enforcement actions against companies underwriting an NRA-branded insurance program called Carry Guard. It said the Cuomo administration was persuading other insurers to avoid doing business with the NRA.

Without liability coverage, the NRA said it can’t maintain its offices, operate educational programs or hold rallies and other political events.

The amended complaint was filed in late July in federal court in northern New York. It names the Democratic governor along with the state Department of Financial Services and its superintendent, Maria Vullo, as defendants.

Cuomo said late Friday the state is filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. “New York will not be intimidated by the NRA’s frivolous lawsuit to advance its dangerous gun-peddling agenda,” he said.

Cuomo added, “If I could have put the NRA out of business, I would have done it 20 years ago.”

On Saturday, advocates of stricter gun control measures protested outside the NRA’s headquarters in Northern Virginia. Organizers were pushing for, among other things, the revocation of the heavyweight group’s tax-exempt status.

The lawsuit said “back-channel communications” by the Cuomo administration “made it clear to banks and insurers that it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA.” As a result, it said multiple financial institutions have entered into consent orders that compel them to end longstanding business relationships with the NRA in New York and elsewhere.

“Absent injunctive relief, defendants’ blacklisting campaign will continue to damage the NRA and its members, as well as endanger the free speech and association rights guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States and the State of New York,” the lawsuit said.

“The actions of defendants are a blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of our organization,” William A. Brewer III, an attorney representing the NRA, said in a statement on Friday.

The lawsuit asks the court to have the Cuomo administration stop its practices against the NRA.

In addition to various communications between Vullo and financial institutions at Cuomo’s direction, the lawsuit referenced an April 20 tweet by Cuomo: “The NRA is an extremist organization. I urge companies in New York state to revisit any ties they have to the NRA and consider their reputations, and responsibility to the public.”

The lawsuit said, “Defendants’ abuses will imminently deprive the NRA of basic bank-depository services, corporate insurance coverage, and other financial services essential to the NRA’s corporate existence and its advocacy mission.”

The motion to dismiss argues that the actions by the governor and Department of Financial Services were designed to protect New Yorkers and they don’t harm the NRA’s First Amendment rights or other constitutional protections, Cuomo said.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nra-sues-new-york-officials-over-what-it-calls-a-blacklisting-campaign/

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Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Resigns Amid Sexual Abuse Allegations

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A prominent Vatican diplomat and the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., has resigned from the College of Cardinals over sexual abuse allegations. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick presented his resignation on Friday evening.

In a statement on Saturday, the Vatican said: “Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the cardinalate and has ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, together with the obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him, for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.”

McCarrick, now 88, has been one of the Vatican’s most prominent officials. As archbishop of Washington, a post he served in from 2001 to 2006, McCarrick helped form church policies aimed at protecting young people from sexual abuse within the church.

His resignation follows an investigation by law enforcement officials and an independent forensic agency that found evidence that McCarrick had sexually abused a teenager 47 years ago while serving as a priest in New York.

Responding to the allegations in a statement released in June, McCarrick said:

Some months ago, I was advised by the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, that an allegation of sexual abuse of a teenager from almost fifty-years ago had been made against me. At that time I was a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

While shocked by the report, and while maintaining my innocence, I considered it essential that the charges be reported to the police, thoroughly investigated by an independent agency, and given to the Review Board of the Archdiocese of New York. I fully cooperated in the process.

My sadness was deepened when I was informed that the allegations had been determined credible and substantiated.

In obedience I accept the decision of The Holy See, that I no longer exercise any public ministry …

While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.

There are also claims of misconduct and harassment against McCarrick involving adults. Earlier this month, a New York Times investigation detailed the story of a man who said he was abused in his early 20s by McCarrick. At the time, McCarrick was serving as a New Jersey bishop in the 1980s. The Times investigation uncovered secretly paid settlements by two New Jersey dioceses in the mid-2000s to two men over allegations against McCarrick.

In a blog post, Vatican analyst Rocco Palmo noted that the Vatican’s statement on McCarrick’s resignation references several allegations against him, “Notably, while McCarrick’s de facto suspension from ministry already took place upon the archdiocese of New York’s June judgment of his abuse of a 16 year-old boy on two occasions in the early 1970s as being ‘credible and substantiated,’ today’s statement refers to ‘allegations’ in plural.”

Father Desmond Rossi, currently a priest in the Diocese of Albany, says he was one of McCarrick’s victims. Rossi told NPR’S Weekend Edition he’s relieved that the cardinal resigned. “Greatly relieved, because I had tried to get the attention of various people for quite a while and he was a very powerful man in the institution. And as we know of most institutions — not only the church but even in the secular world — wherever there’s power, there’s an opportunity for the abuse of power.”

On June 20 in an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, the Rev. Thomas Reese of the Religion News Service said of McCarrick, “The simple fact that he was not only an archbishop but also a cardinal shows that, I mean, you can’t get much higher than that in the Catholic Church. Not only that, he was used by the Vatican on all sorts of diplomatic missions. And he was highly respected not only within the church but also by government officials around the world, including in the United States.”

McCarrick helped create the child protection policy that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in 2002, and in 2006, he spoke with NPR’s Renee Montagne about the issue of priests and sexual abuse:

“The middle way would be that man cannot exercise ministry, because he’s dangerous … We really have to make sure that we are organizing the most perfect child protection program, so that this will never happen again.”

According to Palmo, McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals is the first since Father Louis Billot resigned in 1927. McCarrick will now face a canonical trial, which could lead to further sanctions.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2018/07/28/633388892/cardinal-theodore-mccarrick-resigns-amid-sexual-abuse-allegations

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