UPDATED 11:40 AM PT — Thursday, May 14, 2020
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) announced he will step down as Senate Intelligence Committee chairman as he faces allegations of insider trading. In a statement Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mcconnell said he agrees the move is in Burr’s best interest.
BREAKING: GOP Sen. Richard Burr tells Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell he is stepping aside as chairman of the Senate Intel Cmte as he faces a federal probe into insider trading. pic.twitter.com/MHxXKGTxuK
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) May 14, 2020
The FBI served a warrant to the senator on Wednesday. He’s accused of using insider knowledge to sell off his shares before the coronavirus took a toll on the markets. According to reports, Burr was served a search warrant for his cell-phone at his Washington home after previously being served with a warrant for access to his iCloud account.
U.S. officials said the Republican and his wife sold up to $1.7 million in stocks in mid-February before coronavirus warnings grew severe. Reports from earlier this month suggested his brother also sold hundreds of thousands in stocks on the same day. However, Burr claimed he didn’t coordinate the move.
The North Carolina senator served as the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and would have received confidential briefings from the country’s top health experts on the potential impact the outbreak could have.
Law enforcement are probing communications between the senator and his stockbroker, but Burr maintains that he relied solely on public media reports for his financial decisions.
On top of the ongoing investigation, the senator also received calls to resign in March after rumors spread that he privately warned donors of the oncoming decline in the market. Burr has denied any wrongdoing and has welcomed a complete review of the matter.
Several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have reportedly bought and sold stocks in a similar fashion just before the market decline. However, it’s unclear who else the Department of Justice is looking into.