Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) is stepping down from a leadership position while the FBI investigates him for alleged insider trading.
The disgraced lawmaker is giving up his role as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee while the feds look into whether he dumped nearly $2 million in stocks based on confidential information he received ahead of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., The Hill reported Thursday.
Burr steps away from Intel panel
Burr’s decision was announced Thursday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), provoking astonishment in the chamber. Some Republican senators shared their stunned reactions with a reporter for The Hill.
“Has he done that?” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) reportedly remarked.
Indeed, Burr has faced the brunt of some rather blunt criticism over a scandal that has snagged four senators — three Republicans, including himself, and a Democrat. According to The New York Times, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), and James Inhofe (R-OK) have also come under fire for allegedly dumping assets just weeks before the market crashed over the coronavirus.
NBC News reports that Burr warned private donors in February about the virus — before most Americans were apprised of the damage it would inflict on the nation — and he sold some $1.7 million in stock shortly before the market tanked, sparking speculation of insider trading.
The controversy got more intense this week after Burr gave up his cell phone to the FBI, who served him a warrant. He soon stepped down from the Intel Committee.
A disgraced lawmaker
Republican lawmakers have mostly been supportive of Burr, despite public backlash against him.
“The bottom line is, let’s just see how this turns out. I’ve nothing but good things to say about Richard Burr,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, according to The Hill. Graham, for his part, has come under fire recently from conservatives, and President Donald Trump, for his reluctance to drill down into “Obamagate.”
Similarly, Burr has had a touchy relationship with the president’s base over his role in spearheading his panel’s Russia probe. The Republican subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr. last year, angering many Trump supporters, as NBC noted. Burr submitted the final report of his panel’s probe, which launched at the beginning of Trump’s presidency, just before stepping down, according to an Associated Press report.
Besides being a RINO, it looks like Burr is a fraud too.
The senator is not seeking re-election in 2022, and it’s probably for the best.