Facing stock probe, Burr steps aside as Senate Intel chair

Facing stock probe, Burr steps aside as Senate Intel chair
Facing stock probe, Burr steps aside as Senate Intel chair

A day after federal agents reportedly served him with a search warrant for his cell phone as part of an investigation into his stock sales after a secret briefing on the threat of the Coronavirus, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) stepped aside as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

"We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee," McConnell added.

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"This is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members, and I think the security of the country is too important," Burr said as he walked from his office to the Senate floor on Thursday.

The moves came after the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday night that federal agents had shown up at Burr's residence in Washington, D.C. area.

Burr had drawn scrutiny because of a flurry of stock sales made in mid-February, soon after the Intelligence Committee received briefings on the threat posed by the Coronavirus.

The stocks which had been owned by Burr plummeted in value a few weeks later, when the markets went down in response to the virus outbreak.

Burr is not the only Senator who has drawn scrutiny for trades during that time frame.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) refused to answer questions from reporters at the Capitol on Thursday about her own stock transactions, and whether she was under investigation.

Loeffler has sternly denied wrongdoing.