First GOP congressman to endorse Trump will resign, plead guilty to insider trading


Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), Trump's first congressional endorsement from 2016, is expected to plead guilty to at least one federal crime this week.

Rep. Chris Collins, a Republican from New York and one of Donald Trump's first congressional supporters in 2016, is expected to plead guilty to federal charges of insider trading on Tuesday, according to multiple outlets.

Collins, one of two sitting Republican members of Congress under federal indictment, turned himself in to the FBI in August 2018 amid charges of insider trading. Collins allegedly passed private information to his son, allowing his son to make advantageous stock trades of Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company.

Rep. Collins is on the board of directors for that company, as well as one of the company's largest stockholders.

Collins' son and another defendant were also arrested in the connection to the matter. The three face several charges ranging from wire fraud to securities fraud.

At the time of his arrest, Collins' attorney released a statement expressing confidence Collins would be "completely vindicated and exonerated."

Collins originally pleaded not guilty.

The congressman is reportedly expected to change his plea during a court hearing on Tuesday. His son and the third defendant are expected to change their pleas on Thursday.

It is not clear to what charges Collins or his co-defendants will plead guilty.

Collins rose to prominence after becoming the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in the 2016 election.

The second member of Congress to endorse Trump, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) is the other member of Congress currently under indictment.

Hunter is charged with illegally using campaign funds to finance a posh lifestyle, including family vacations and shopping sprees. He has thus far denied any wrongdoing, though his wife, whom Hunter claimed was responsible for handling the couple's personal and campaign finances, has since pleaded guilty to one count of corruption, alleging that she and her husband used the campaign credit card to pay for various vacations and other expenses.

The Republican House minority was notably forced to issue new rules about committee assignments in December last year, due to the numerous members facing federal charges.

UPDATE: Collins abruptly submitted his resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday, amid news that he would plead guilty to charges of insider trading, a spokesperson from the speaker's office told CNN.

His resignation will be effective on Tuesday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.