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Opinion

In the heat of the summer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, seen on July

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, seen on July 28, 2017, urged Congress on Sunday, Aug. 6, to increase the budget of a weather satellite program. Photo Credit: AP / J. Scott Applewhite

Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!

Daily Point

Growing (pains) at LGA

So, you’re tired of the so-called “summer of hell” on the Long Island Rail Road, and you know the Metropolitan Transportation Authority isn’t going to be able to fix the subways anytime soon. The roads are congested. But you’ve got to get out.

Flying away is going to be a headache, too.

At a news conference filled with state and local public officials, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian signed a lease Tuesday on Delta’s new $4 billion complex at LaGuardia Airport, marking the start of construction on the eastern half of the airport. Delta is paying $3.6 billion of the cost of the new facility — its largest single investment in any airport ever and an example of the public-private partnerships Cuomo seeks. The building will include four concourses, 37 gates, plenty of concession and restaurant space, and new parking and roadway configurations.

Eventually, it’ll be a modern home for Delta and its customers when it is all done by 2026.

But for now, it just means more construction, heavy machinery and detours at and around the airport, which already resembles a “Bob the Builder” set on steroids.

Delta and LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the entity handling work at the main terminal, are expected to coordinate their projects, but the congestion won’t end anytime soon.

At the groundbreaking Tuesday, LaGuardia Gateway officials announced that their private consortium has added new investors: basketball legend Magic Johnson’s infrastructure investment fund and his partner, Loop Capital Markets.

Perhaps that’s just what LaGuardia travelers will need for the next few years: a bit of magic.

Randi F. Marshall

Talking Point

Latest picks for top prosecutor

The Trump administration reviewed more than a dozen names for the coveted position of U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and vetted a handful of them. Now it’s focused on two men: Richard Donoghue and Edward McNally.

Their names were sent recently to New York’s two U.S. senators, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with candidates for the Southern District, aka the replacement for Preet Bharara, and openings on the federal bench.

The two candidates for the Eastern District have contrasting backgrounds.

Donoghue, who lives on Long Island, is considered a “prosecutor’s prosecutor.” McNally has worked as a political appointee in past Republican administrations.

Donoghue, who is chief counsel to CA Technologies in Islandia, briefly considered running for Suffolk County district attorney this year, but having been nonpartisan, he didn’t have the needed political network in place, according to Long Island political sources.

He is a retired U.S. Army captain and served for seven years in the military’s legal system representing soldiers. A graduate of Hofstra University and St. John’s University law school, Donoghue spent 11 years as a prosecutor in the Eastern District, including heading the Long Island office and bringing MS-13 gang cases before taking over as chief of the criminal division. He left in 2011 to join CA.

In contrast, McNally is more high profile. He is a Chicago native and a partner in the Manhattan law firm of Marc Kasowitz, a longtime personal attorney of Donald Trump and a key member of the team representing the president in the special counsel investigation of Russian election meddling.

McNally worked as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District when Rudy Giuliani was the U.S. attorney. He also has more national experience: He spent time as a speechwriter under George H. W. Bush and in the White House counsel’s office for George W. Bush. He went to Yale University as an undergraduate and got his JD from Notre Dame. Earlier this year, he was being considered as a replacement for Bharara in the Southern District.

Schumer’s closeness to Bharara might be one of the reasons McNally was a nonstarter for the Southern District. All U.S. attorneys must be confirmed by the Senate, and while Republicans are in control, any senator can put an indefinite hold on a nomination. Schumer, The Point was told, warned the Trump administration long ago that he would exercise that prerogative on Eastern and Southern district nominees.

Rita Ciolli

Pencil Point

A happy meal

Pointing Out

Summers with Schumer

Sen. Chuck Schumer, as minority leader in the U.S. Senate, is one of the most powerful politicians in the country. And he’s been leading the resistance to policies of President Donald Trump that his Democratic Party abhors.

So with the Senate now in its August recess, it must be time for a little R&R, right?

Well . . .

Schumer was at the Mineola train station Tuesday morning to demand that sleep apnea testing be made mandatory for train operators. Then it was off to Staten Island to demand that federal officials fast-track research into vaccines for tick-borne diseases affecting that borough.

That followed events Monday in Buffalo and Rochester, where Schumer complained about proposed federal funding cuts for weather satellites that could make predicting severe weather like the tornadoes that hit western New York last month more difficult. And Schumer will cap his off-week on Friday with visits to a trio of upstate counties — Schuyler, Schoharie and Wyoming, three of the least populous counties in the state.

Nobody does retail politics like Schumer, who clearly hasn’t lost sight of his home base in the glare of the national spotlight.

Michael Dobie

Columns