Collins, a Republican from Western New York state who was the first sitting congressman to back President Donald Trump’s bid for the White House, faces re-election next month in a tight race with Democratic challenger Nate McMurray.
The date set by US District Judge Vernon Broderick in Manhattan federal court positions Collins’ trial in another congressional election year, when he will again face re-election if he retains his seat in November.
On Thursday, Assistant US Attorney Scott Hartman repeatedly pressed for an earlier trial date, arguing that there is a “strong public interest in seeing this case resolved in 2019.”
“This is an important case,” Hartman said, adding: “It’s not a particularly complex case.”
According to the indictment, Collins and the other defendants acted on non-public information about the results of a drug trial and used it to trade on the stock of the pharmaceutical company, Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, of which Collins was a board member.
The indictment doesn’t allege that Collins himself traded on information about the failed results of a drug trial, but that he passed the information to his son, Cameron Collins, so that the younger Collins could execute trades. And it alleges that the younger Collins passed the information to others, including his fiancée’s father, Stephen Zarsky, who also traded on the information. None of the defendants attended Thursday’s hearing.
Collins has called the charges against him “meritless.” After being indicted in August, Collins initially said he would suspend his re-election bid, then weeks later reversed course, saying he would seek another term in office despite the charges.
An attorney for Collins, Jonathan New, said in court that the US attorney’s office had “rushed to bring this case before this current election.”
New said the defense needed a trial date no earlier than late 2019 to address several potential pretrial issues, including whether any of the material obtained by the government was subject to what is known as the “speech or debate” clause, a provision in the Constitution that protects legislative work from executive branch interference.
Hartman, however, disputed the notion that Collins and his co-defendants would need an extended period before trial, saying the congressman had been “on notice of the fact that the government was investigating him for some time. They have had plenty of time to consider the speech or debate issues.” Hartman also noted that “the congressman has been on television declaring his innocence,” at which point Broderick cut Hartman off.
“I understand that the defendant perhaps has more of a bully pulpit than the average defendant,” Broderick said. “And I’ll leave it at that.”
“I didn’t mean to disparage his declarations of innocence,” Hartman replied. “It’s absolutely his right. He should be doing that, but my only point was this is a case that is of public significance. The public is paying attention to what’s going on here, and it does nobody — it’s not a service to anyone to have a question mark hanging over whether these allegations can be proven or not in court.”
Powell, a former deputy national security adviser to Trump, faced hurdles inside the White House to get the position given her tense relationship with White House chief of staff John Kelly, according to sources familiar with the process.
Following UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s announcement this week that she would step down, Powell’s name came forward as a likely replacement, with Trump telling reporters the same day Haley’s resignation was announced that Powell was in consideration for the role.
But Powell faced several opposing forces inside the White House. One official said her nomination became “incredibly more complicated” by the escalating diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia.
“No one knows more about the relationship between Jared and MBS than her,” an official said, referring to Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the agreement public when he announced votes on three circuit court judges and 12 district court judges.
The deal is a significant victory for McConnell, who has made clearing a long list of President Donald Trump’s nominees, especially judges, a top priority this year.
It is also a boon for senators seeking re-election, especially those 10 Democrats running in states won by Trump in 2016, because they will be free finally to leave DC and focus more fully for the next month on their campaigns.
Senate panel advances judicial nominee rated 'not qualified' by American Bar Association

Republican leaders made clear throughout the year they had no qualms about keeping senators in Washington until very close to Election Day. That’s because the GOP is defending only eight Senate seats in November, only two of which are somewhat close.
But Democrats are defending 25 seats, so being back home is more consequential for them. Polls show that most of the red state Democrats are in competitive races.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was back in North Dakota before the deal was reached. She may be the most vulnerable Democrats running. She voted Wednesday on a health care bill that was a top priority for Democrats but wasn’t around for votes later Wednesday or Thursday on Trump nominees.
Asked about Heitkamp missing votes to campaign, her spokeswoman Abigail McDonough took a shot at the House, where her GOP opponent, Rep. Kevin Cramer, serves.
“Senator Heitkamp is back in North Dakota meeting with workers and families across her state,” McDonough said. “Unfortunately, the House has only been in session for 10 days since the beginning of August, while the Senate has been working hard — a telling statistic about the politics and work ethic in the House this year.”
As he walked on the Senate floor before the deal was announced, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a state Trump won by more than 20 points, was asked if he thought McConnell was playing hardball with the nominations to keep him in DC.
He laughed loudly and said the answer was so obvious that even political reporters could determine on their own that it was true.
“Honest to God, I would answer that question, but I’m going to let you guys do that assessment,” he said.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking GOP leader, said McConnell had offered Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “a list of nominations that are not particularly controversial, and if they will agree to dispose of them, then they’ll be able to go back home” to “raise money and campaign.”
But Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat, said some of the nominees “are clearly controversial,” meaning Democratic leaders had to balance their desire to get their candidates home with essentially allowing judges they oppose to advance.
Democratic leaders also recognized the risk that a deal that put more conservatives on the bench could anger and dispirit their base voters.
Heidi Heitkamp is fighting for her political life in North Dakota

Heidi Heitkamp is fighting for her political life in North Dakota

Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat who become a hero to many progressives for her handling of the contentious Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation, said she wanted Schumer to cut a deal and get people home.
“Elections matter and I would like my colleagues to be able to go home,” she said. “Every day that goes by when they’re not touching base with their constituents is not a good thing”
Hirono said she was not concerned about a backlash from Democratic voters if the deal appears favorable to Republicans.
“I hope that our supporters understand that, but we need to be focusing on is the outcome of the 2018 elections,” she said adding that if Democrats control the Senate next year they will be able to block Trump’s nominees they oppose. “Right now, we do not have those votes and I think they understand that.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat running in West Virginia, which Trump won by 46 points, said he expected McConnell would demand a lot in return for letting Democrats go.
“Mitch is going to do what Mitch is going to do,” he said. “I don’t think you can make any deal with Mitch if he thinks he’s going to get you.”
He also acknowledged he’d like to get home.
“It’s always a good thing if we can be home campaigning,” Manchin said. “We need to do that.”
Republican Sen. John Kennedy agreed that McConnell was dead set on getting a good deal for Republicans.
“He is mad as a mama wasp and he is determined to get the nominations through, and I don’t think he’s bluffing,” Kennedy said.

Scott Cawthron, a Mexico Beach resident who, up until yesterday, had a home there, says he survived Hurricane Michael huddled with his mother in a closet as the floodwaters rose and the roof flew off its foundation.

“It’s in pieces. The roof’s over there, and the structure’s over there underneath another house,” Cawthron said, describing his experience during the storm’s peak.

“The flooding occurred and it was much more than the initial report of six to nine feet. It was 9 to 12 easy. It was outside my bedroom window upstairs. It started flooding downstairs. I told my mother, who is 72 years old, come upstairs and we hid in a closet. The floor started sinking away from us, and the roof truss fell on the floor and I couldn’t get out of the closet,” he said.  

“God gave me the strength to get the door open, and get her on the door that we were pushing open, and the sheet metal wedged on my head so I can protect her from the wind. She has a bad gash on her foot, but we’re okay.

He added that he hoped the rest of his family is OK, but he hasn’t heard from them.

“The United States cannot ignore the national security implications of China’s efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of US-China civil nuclear cooperation,” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in a statement Thursday.
The decision is the result of a broad government policy review led by the National Security Council and is driven by Beijing’s efforts to obtain advanced technology, nuclear material and equipment from US companies.
“The administration concluded that a change in US civil nuclear cooperation with China is necessary to strike an appropriate balance between long-term risks to US national security and economic interests and the impact to the US nuclear industrial base,” an administration official told reporters Thursday.

Intellectual property theft

The review, which examined the economic and national security ramifications, was prompted by China’s efforts to gain US intellectual property, sometimes illicitly, in ways that undermine American businesses and the military, officials told reporters in a conference call.
The administration official said China is “actively pursuing our advanced nuclear technology for diversion to military use in its third-generation nuclear power submarine, in the development of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and in strategic dual use nuclear-powered platforms, such as small modular reactors and floating nuclear power plants deployable in the South China Sea.”
The move comes as the US is waging a trade war against China, with roughly half the products China sells to the US each year now facing tariffs. Beijing has retaliated with its own penalties on American products.
The new policy, which goes into effect immediately, sets guidelines for all existing, pending and future technology transfers to China, administration officials said. They flagged particular concern about technology that can power submarines, aircraft carriers and small modular reactors that could be used in floating power plants in South China Sea.

‘Presumption of denial’

Another US official said there will be a “presumption of denial” for all new license applications related to the China General Nuclear Power Group. The state company is now under indictment for conspiring to steal US nuclear technology.
“For decades China has maintained a concerted, central government-run strategy to gain nuclear advantage,” the second US official said.
The officials said US nuclear exports to China amounted to $170 million in 2017. The administration “carefully weighed” the economic impact, the official said, but was acting because it “must first and foremost protect” national security.
“We understand the US industry may suffer in the short term,” the administration official said, adding that “we believe that in the long term this policy will benefit” the US and protect the American nuclear industry.
China, the officials said, has been using unfair policies to surpass US industry and without this step, US companies could be placed at “an even greater disadvantage.”

A State Department spokesperson dodged a reporter’s question about whether the US has placed an ambassador in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been under scrutiny after a well-known reporter and critic of the country’s leadership went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The president-as-cheerleader model helps explain why Trump went ahead with a campaign-style rally as Hurricane Michael ripped into Florida and then tore into neighboring states. Few things matter more to him than performing before a chanting crowd and he believes he’s very good at it.
Who could argue that Trump knows how to draw the aggressive energy out of an audience until a room crackles with the energy of a high school gym on basketball night in Indiana? “Lock her up” isn’t so different from “Defense! Defense!” except that it is scarier to hear emanating from a crowd gathered to listen to the supposed leader of the free world.
Trump's outlandish op-ed has a silver lining for Democrats

The trouble with the cheerleader model as employed by Trump is threefold.
First, he does it too much. Many occasions — like, say, the moment when a storm is blowing apart coastal communities — are not suitable for pep rallies. Second, his cheers aren’t for all Americans but, rather, for his partisans. Third, he’s mean-spirited. The tone Trump creates at his rallies is worse than what you’ll experience at Yankee Stadium when the Red Sox are on the field.
Trump’s rallies are in such danger of becoming overexposed that even Fox News has decided not to air some of them in full. “Trump’s campaign speeches tend to follow a similar pattern,” Politico reported, quoting a source who said, “network officials’ fear was that too much repetition would lead to lower ratings.”
This is tantamount to the booster club giving up on the home team’s pep squad because the boys and girls have lost their appeal.
Behind Nikki Haley's sudden exit

Behind Nikki Haley's sudden exit

White House aides are reportedly in touch with Fox on the rally issue. I am sure the President has fewer higher priorities than getting his appearances back on the network. As a man who struggles to appear presidential. Trump knows that he looks deficient in many of the roles commonly associated with the office. He meets high schoolers who are devastated by gun violence and needs crib notes on empathy. He visits natural disaster victims and throws paper towels at them.
Second to cheerleading, among the Trump presidential priorities, may be the pursuit of celebrity credibility. Although he frequently complains about Hollywood liberals, he craves the attentions of the famous. So it was that he welcomed Kanye West to the Oval Office, where he made a jabbering spectacle of himself. In his “Make America Great Again” hat, Kanye himself proved to be an enthusiastic cheerleader for the President, which explains why Trump indulged him.
Rally Trump is the role the President began refining as a pathologically competitive boy playing soldier at his military high school. (At the end of his time there he wound up being the parade leader.). He refined the performance during aborted presidential bids, perfected it as a how-to-get-rich public speaker and reached the heights during the 2016 election.
As President, Trump hasn’t grown into the office in the way of his predecessors. Instead he continues to spread anger, sarcasm, and mockery, which sound discordant in most settings. However they do represent Trump at his most authentic. He is never more himself than when he is rousing a crowd into anger against fellow Americans. It’s not very presidential but it is very Trump and he’ll never give it up.

(CNN) — My watch tells me it’s 7.30 p.m. My body believes it’s the middle of the night. My brain doesn’t care — it’s just frazzled from tiredness and travel.

I’ve flown overnight from New York to Frankfurt, a time change gaining six hours. I then flew onto Singapore and Hong Kong.

I’m now 12 hours ahead of where I started and I can barely concentrate.

I feel tired, a bit spacey … Conversations may take place around me and I sort of zone out.

My circadian rhythm — the body’s internal 24-hour clock — is out of whack. I am in the twilight world of jet lag.

That internal clock knows when it’s daylight and when it’s night. It knows when I’m ready to sleep and ready to be awake.

When my body clock is running in sync with the time and place where I am, all is well.

Then comes a 14-hour flight in a pressurized metal tube that deposits me on the other side of the world, in a timezone 10 hours from where I left, at the wrong time of day for my body.

The result is jet lag.

Jet lag affects us all to some degree or another when we fly across time zones.

There are some travelers who annoyingly claim not to be affected — good luck to them!

For the rest of us all we can do is mitigate this effect.

Jet lag gadgets

The general rule of thumb is that eastbound travel is worse for jet lag than westbound — no idea why, but that’s what I’ve always been told.

Also, it takes an hour a day to readjust fully to the new timezone — so it will take 12 days to fully acclimatize after flying from New York to Singapore.

Obviously we can’t just sit around doing nothing while these minor body adjustments take place; we battle on through.

Which is why an entire industry has built up around preventing or mitigating jet lag.

Over the years I have tried most of them in some shape or form.

There are full-throttle sleeping pills like Ambien or Atarax and hormone supplements like Melatonin.

I’ve tried chamomile tea before bed and when waking up.

Hot showers. Cold showers. Eating more fruit. Not eating any fruit.

Currently I’m experimenting with Ayo Light Therapy Glasses that involve wearing a headband above the eyes that shines a blue light for up to 30-minute sessions.

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Some work better than others — and some never seem to work.

Regardless, two days after a mega-long flight crossing multiple timezones, there will come that moment when I suddenly realize I haven’t heard a word anyone is saying to me, where I feel dog-tired, woozy and can barely keep my eyes open. Yup, jet lag has hit me again.

Remedies that work

One thought — I’ll often hear people complain about jet lag immediately after a red-eye transatlantic, when what they are really suffering from is physical tiredness after flying all night.

The jet lag wont kick in for another 12 to 24 hours hours, when the body realizes that the air, the temperature and the light are all different to what it is used to.

So what’s Quest’s best jet lag remedy?

1. Recognize that it’s a natural phenomenon and all we can do is to mitigate the worst effects.

2. Set your watch to the destination time as soon as you get going and start behaving accordingly — try to sleep when you’re supposed to be sleeping at your destination.

3. When you get to your destination, get as much sunshine as you can. Vitamin D is a great remedy for jet lag.

4. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell colleagues you’re tired and are going for a lie down. Just a quick snooze on the top of the bed.

Do all or some of these and you will still suffer from jet lag, but hopefully will feel well enough to ignore it and power on.

Excuse me now, I have just been sitting here looking at the computer screen for 10 minutes and not a thought or word written.

I am jet lagged.

Time to snooze.

Since then, Shepard’s parents have spread his legacy by going around the world advocating for civic and LGBTQ rights.
But they hadn’t found a place that felt safe enough to lay their son’s ashes to rest.
Until now.
On October 26, Shepard will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral, the Matthew Shepard Foundation said.
“When Matt was taken from us, we hadn’t had any death or plots plans,” his parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, said in an email. “We were living overseas at the time, and from a practical standpoint, we did not want our son to be put to rest on the other side of the world.”
Matthew Shepard

But burying him near home didn’t feel like an option either.
“We didn’t want to leave him in Wyoming to be a point of pilgrimage that may be a nuisance to other families in a cemetery. We didn’t want to open up the option for vandalism. So we had him cremated and held onto the urn until we figured out the proper thing to do.”
Now, the Shepards say they have found the right time and the perfect place.

The choice of venue

The National Cathedral in Northwest Washington, D.C., has been a longtime supporter of the full inclusion of LGBT people in church and “considers LGBT equality the great civil rights issue of church in the 21st century,” its website says. It hosted its first same-sex wedding in 2010.
The service will celebrate and recall Shepard’s life and will be presided over by Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be consecrated a bishop in the Episcopal Church.
“In the years since Matthew’s death, the Shepard family has shown extraordinary courage and grace in keeping his spirit and memory alive, and the Cathedral is honored and humbled to serve as his final resting place,” Very Rev. Randolph Marshall, dean of the Cathedral, said.

The attack and aftermath

Shepard, 21, a political science student at the University of Wyoming, died October 12, 1998, five days after he was severely beaten and tied to a fence near Laramie. Two 21-year-old men were charged with murder in the attack, which police say was motivated mainly by robbery. However, they say Shepard was singled out because of his sexual orientation.
His death drew nationwide condemnation and resulted in a law that made it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
Shepard will be one of about 200 people that have been interred in the Cathedral in the past century, including President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan, and the US Navy Admiral George Dewey.
“We’re comforted to know he will be among other Americans who have done so much for our country,” his parents said. “This is incredibly meaningful for our family and for everyone who has known him.”
Someone bought the domain and has turned it into a site dedicated to help survivors of sexual assault.
Instead of a Kavanaugh bio or pearls of judicial wisdom, visitors to the site encounter a black-and-white photo of the Supreme Court building along with a simple message: “We Believe Survivors.” Below are links to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, End Rape On Campus and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network — all resources for survivors who are seeking assistance.
This is what you see when you visit BrettKavanaugh.com.

The URL is hosted by Fix the Court, a nonpartisan judicial reform organization whose main goal is to fight for honesty and transparency on the US Supreme Court.
Even though the site launched this week, the domain was actually purchased three years ago along with a handful of other names of potential Supreme Court nominees.
“In 2015, as the presidential races were going on, I decided to buy domains of possible candidates for the Supreme Court,” Fix the Court Executive Director Gabe Roth told CNN. Fix the Court owns about two dozen domain names, including MerrickGarland.net and JudgeGorsuch.com.
“I knew that justices that were 75 years old or older could retire, and the upcoming president would need to pick new ones. So I thought of people who could be in line for the job,” Roth said.
Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed by the Senate on Saturday after a contentious process that was delayed when Christine Blasey Ford and several other women came forward with allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against him. Kavanaugh vehemently denied all the accusations and endured an FBI investigation requested by the Senate.
During Kavanaugh’s ceremonial swearing-in at the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump apologized for “the terrible pain and suffering” he and his family were “forced to endure” during his confirmation process.
Frustrated by Trump’s comments, Roth decided to launch the site Tuesday as a way to put “a national focus on the issue of sexual assault.”
“Watching the White House ceremony last night and listening to the President again cast doubt on the veracity of Dr. Ford’s claims, while not hearing a word of contrition from the newest justice, was difficult for many Americans who have experienced sexual misconduct firsthand,” Roth said in a statement.
CNN has reached out to the Supreme Court for comment.
Roth hopes his website can help survivors while starting a conversation about making the Supreme Court confirmation process more transparent.
“The entire process was not 100% open to the public. There was information that was not disclosed, and the FBI report was mostly hidden,” he said. “This shows that there needs to be more done to make court more open and transparent, and I want to lead that conversation.”
Roth added that he’s not looking to make any enemies and if the Supreme Court asked him, he’d take the Kavanaugh website down or just replace it with original Fix the Court site — something he plans to do eventually anyway.