Trump doesn't want to talk about his swamp.
Trump interrupted his marathon golf vacation on Friday to post more race-baiting tweets about black NFL players. What Trump remains studiously silent about this week, though, is the shocking arrest of Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who turned himself into the FBI for insider trading on Wednesday.
The silence is telling since Collins has been among Trump's most ardent supporters. He was the first House member to publicly endorse Trump's presidential campaign.
At the Republican National Convention in 2016, Collins was in the Trump family’s private box and offered a second to affirm Trump’s nomination. Collins told the crowd on that night that “Donald Trump is not merely a candidate, Donald Trump is a movement.”
Collins then dubbed himself Trump's “liaison” to Congress after Trump was sworn into office. Since then, Collins has enjoyed exulted insider status among Trump's tight circle of advisers.
But so far, it's no comment from Trump regarding his close ally's arrest.
Politically, the silence might be a smart move since Collin's legal prospects don't look good. Prosecutors this week laid out a fairly straightforward and brazen case of insider trading.
Collins serves on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech company. He is also one its largest shareholders, owning nearly 17 percent of the company’s stock.
While attending a congressional picnic at the White House on the evening of June 22, 2017, Collins received word from Innate’s CEO that the company’s hallmark drug in development had failed its trial test. That meant the value of Innate would plummet once the publicly traded company released that information.
Collins is accused of then taking that confidential information and tipping off his son, who then tipped off his fiancé and his fiancé’s family.
They all began dumping their Innate stock before the value plunged.
On CNN, legal analyst Paul Callan called the Collins scheme "completely idiotic," in part because the crimes were all so obvious.
Collins' arrest was part of a week characterized by disturbing revelations about Trump's team and the level of corruption they operate under.
In a federal courthouse in Virginia, prosecutors continued to detail the many alleged crimes of Paul Manafort, who served as Trump's campaign chairman in 2016.
Also this week, Forbes magazine reported that Trump's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been accused over the years of ripping of his business colleagues to the tune of $120 million.
“Those who’ve done business with Ross generally tell a consistent story, of a man obsessed with money and untethered to facts,” Forbes reported. “If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.”
In that sense, Collins fits right in.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.