On Thursday, Tucker Carlson called on Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) to provide a legitimate explanation as to why he sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock just ahead of the economic downturn that is resulting from the coronavirus — or else resign.
What did he do?
This week, the New York Times published a report explaining the Burr situation. It turns out that on Feb. 13th, Burr decided to sell off a large portion of his stocks — according to some reports, somewhere between $628,000 to $1.72 million.
This, in itself, of course, is fine. It is the surrounding circumstances that have landed Burr in hot water. Burr is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and, as such, he was getting regular briefings on the developing coronavirus crisis that the general public did not have access to.
On Feb. 7, shortly before dumping his stock, Burr had co-written an op-ed for Fox News in which he stated that “the United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.”
But later in the month, Burr warned a group called the Tar Heel Club that the coronavirus could be devastating: “There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history. It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
So, the obvious question here is whether Burr engaged in insider trading? Tucker Carlson seems to think so.
On Thursday’s program, Carlson went straight for Burr: “You may have seen news reports this afternoon that chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee sold more than a million dollars in stock in mid-February after learning about how devastating the Chinese coronavirus could be.”
He had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening. But he didn’t warn the public. He didn’t give a primetime address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he’d written just 10 days before claiming America was ‘better prepared than ever for coronavirus.’ He didn’t do any of those things. Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent.
Accordingly, Carlson urged Burr to either explain or resign.
“Maybe there is an honest explanation for what he did,” Carlson said. “If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading. There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time crisis, and that appears to be what happened.”
Sen. Burr denied any wrongdoing in a statement on Friday, saying he made the investment decisions based “solely” on publicly available information. He also announced that he has requested the Senate Ethics Committee to review his transactions.
Burr isn’t the only senator under suspicion. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who also sold some $3.1 million in stocks after receiving a briefing on the coronavirus, defended herself to Carlson on Friday, saying that her portfolio is managed by advisers and that she is informed “only after those trades are made.” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) also sold stocks in late January and early February. Both said they are not personally involved in managing their investment portfolios.