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News Wrap: Collins indicted for insider trading, criminal cover-up

In our news wrap Wednesday, New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins and his son are under indictment for alleged insider trading. Prosecutors say his son dumped stock in a pharmaceutical company after Collins alerted him that an experimental drug had failed. Also, Rick Gates finished his testimony in the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.

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  • William Brangham:

    A member of the U.S. House and his son are under indictment tonight for alleged insider stock trading.

    New York Republican Chris Collins also serves on the board of a drug company. Prosecutors say he learned last summer that an experimental drug had failed, and alerted his son, who then quickly dumped his stock. Then, they allegedly lied about it to federal agents.

  • Geoffrey Berman:

    Congressman Collins couldn't keep his crime a secret forever. The FBI asked to interview him, and instead of telling the truth, he lied. By lying to the FBI, they compounded their insider trading crime with the crime of criminal cover-up.

  • William Brangham:

    Collins represents a part of Western New York between Buffalo and Rochester.

    The star witness in the trial of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort finished his testimony today. Under a plea agreement, Rick Gates testified that he helped Manafort file false income tax returns and conceal millions in foreign income. Defense lawyers painted him as a liar.

    The charges of bank and tax fraud stem from the years before Manafort joined the Trump campaign.

    In the Russia investigation, President Trump's legal team rejected special counsel Robert Mueller's conditions for interviewing the president. Reports today say the president's lawyers objected to any questions about whether he obstructed justice. Instead, they called for the probe to wrap up by September 1.

    It's been another long day for 14,000 firefighters battling 18 wildfires across California. The so-called Holy Fire marched across a national forest outside Los Angeles. Police arrested demand for allegedly setting it. But in the north, crews made progress against the Mendocino Complex Fire, the state's largest ever. Hundreds of evacuees were allowed to go home after waiting since the weekend.

  • Man:

    Everything just seems kind of surreal, you know? Just last couple of days, it really start settling in. You know, I'm just — it's uncertainty. There is lot of uncertainty in a lot of time. Just a lot of uncertainty is all I know, a lot of stress.

  • William Brangham:

    Fire managers say the plumes of smoke from these big blazes have actually cool the surrounding air a bit and helped slow the fire's advance.

    In Indonesia, officials say the death toll has reached 131 after Sunday's powerful earthquake. The search for survivors continues, and the military says the final number could be much higher. Meanwhile, some 13,000 homes were damaged on the resort island of Lombok, which is east of Bali. Thousands of the displaced are living in tents.

    A crippling drought is now threatening Australia's most populous state, which is experiencing the driest conditions in 50 years. Officials say 100 percent of New South Wales is affected, all 300,000 square miles. Farmers are being promised aid, and that they have been authorized to shoot more kangaroos, so the animals don't eat the sparse grass that livestock need.

  • Niall Blair:

    You have got to remember that some of our farmers haven't really recovered from the last drought. So, it is biting. Every farming business is different. Some are doing better than others. But, regardless, we're going to stand by all of them to get all of them to get everyone through this challenging period.

  • William Brangham:

    Forecasters warn the drought may last another three months.

    The U.S. today slapped new sanctions on Russia over a nerve agent attack in Britain. The targets of the attack were former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. A State Department spokeswoman said it agrees with British findings that Moscow as behind the attack. But the Kremlin has denied any involvement.

    There's new pushback against President Trump's threat that those who do business with Iran will not do business with the U.S. The president reimposed sanctions on Iran yesterday, after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal. But China said today that its business with Iran is — quote — "open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions."

    And Turkey said it will continue to buy natural gas from Iran, no matter what.

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials today led a federal raid of about 12 businesses in Minnesota and Nebraska. They arrested 14 company owners and managers suspected of hiring and mistreating immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally. More than 130 workers were also arrested.

    The New York City Council voted today to freeze new licenses for drivers working for Uber and other ride-hailing companies. It's the first major American city to take the step. Taxi drivers argued that the 12-month freeze was important, citing traffic and falling salaries.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 45 points to close at 25583. The Nasdaq rose four points, and the S&P 500 slipped a fraction of a point.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," what last night's primaries mean for the November election; reports that three men are influencing the Veterans Affairs Department from Mar-a-Lago; the West Coast tries out an early warning system for earthquakes; and much more.

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