By Nathan Ham
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr has decided to “step aside” from his role as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The decision was announced on Thursday by Sen. Mitch McConnell.
The FBI also seized a cell phone that is believed to have been Sen. Burr’s as the investigation continues as to whether he used information gathered in private briefings to dump between $628,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 separate transactions in late January and early February.
Burr has denied any wrongdoing.
“I relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision regarding the sale of stocks on February 13. Specifically, I closely followed CNBC’s daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time. Understanding the assumption many could make in hindsight, however, I spoke this morning with the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and asked him to open a complete review of the matter with full transparency,” Sen. Burr said in a statement.
According to multiple media outlets, the stocks that he and his wife sold were companies that owned hotels, and the sale of these stocks followed confidential senate briefings.
Sen. Burr is not the only member of the Senate to face questions surrounding recent stock trades around the same time, before anybody in the public knew just how bad the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was going to get. Four other U.S. Senators sold stocks after the same briefing that Sen. Burr was a part of — Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Ron Johnson (R-WI).