Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is stepping down from his post as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after reports this week that the FBI seized his cell phone as part of an investigation into possible insider trading by the North Carolina lawmaker.
The news of Burr’s departure from the committee, which has been at the forefront of investigations into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian actors, was confirmed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday.
In his statement, McConnell said, “Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation. We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow.”
The coronavirus insider trading investigation forced Sen. Richard Burr to step down as chairman of the Senate intelligence committee.
Full McConnell statement here: pic.twitter.com/O9k3JkYwAA
— Greg Walters (@thegregwalters) May 14, 2020
Burr’s trades first came under scrutiny after reports in late March that he had dumped stocks following private coronavirus briefings in the Senate.
The three-term senator denied the allegations, saying that he “relied solely on public news reports guide [his] decision regarding the sale of stocks on February 13.”
He also claimed that he “spoke with the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and asked him to open a complete review of the matter with full transparency.”
My statement in response to reports about recent financial disclosures: pic.twitter.com/J4kye5a4ok
— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) March 20, 2020
Burr is among another Republican senator who has caught heat for the stock trades that they made in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) also reportedly dumped millions in stocks and some Republicans have criticized the freshman lawmaker for her trades. Loeffler insists that she had no knowledge of the trades until weeks after they were made.
The Georgia senator has been much more outspoken in her denials of wrongdoing. She has even declared that criticisms of her trades are a “socialist attack.”
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