• Today
    May 31

  • 04:57 PM

Burr to step down, denies wrongdoing

BBC,

Added 15 May 2020

burr

Senator Richard Burr has denied wrongdoing amid an insider trading probe. (BBC)

Washington – The Republican chairman of the United States Senate intelligence committee will step down while an insider trading inquiry is carried out.

Richard Burr of North Carolina said he had decided to do so because he did not want the investigation to distract the committee from its work.

Burr's phone has been seized by the FBI as part of the inquiry.

The senator, who denies wrongdoing, allegedly used inside information to avoid market losses from coronavirus.

He declined a request for comment.

Burr and his wife sold as much as $1.7m (£1.4m) of equities in February, just before markets plunged on fears of an economic crisis.

It is illegal for members of Congress to trade based on non-public information gathered during their official duties.

Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, as well as Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, also reportedly sold holdings before the downturn, but are not confirmed to be under investigation.

Feinstein said she had answered questions from the FBI regarding trades made by her husband, however.

Why is Burr stepping back?

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Burr had contacted him to inform of his decision to step aside temporarily.

"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 [Friday]," McConnell said in a statement.

Burr said: "The work the Intelligence Committee and its members do is too important to risk hindering in any way. I believe this step is necessary to allow the Committee to continue its essential work free of external distractions."

He turned over his mobile phone to authorities after federal agents issued and executed a search warrant at his Washington, DC, home.

What are the allegations exactly?

The justice department began investigating Burr, 64, in March.

Public disclosures first investigated by ProPublica show the senator sold more than 30 stocks between late January and mid-February. Some of the stocks were in sectors now devastated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, such as the hotel, restaurant and shipping industries. 

As chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Burr receives nearly daily briefings on threats to US national security. He defended the transactions, saying he had "relied solely on public news reports" to instruct his decision to sell. (BBC)

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Are you satisfied with the way the Government of Barbados has handled the COVID-19 public health crisis here?

Yes
No

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM