GREENSBORO, N.C. — Senator Richard Burr has turned over his cellphone to federal investigators.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized Burr’s cellphone as part of a probe into controversial stock sales at the induction of the COVID-19 in the United States, according to the LA Times.
Federal agents also served a search warrant at his Washington, D.C. home, according to the report.
The investigation comes as Burr allegedly dumped up to $1.7 million in stocks in the days before the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the economy.
According to ProPublica, in more than 30 different transactions, Burr dumped between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13, a significant percentage of his stocks.
Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels. The stock sales were first reported by ProPublica and The Center for Responsive Politics.
Burr said on Twitter at the time, that Americans were already being warned about the effects of the virus when he made the speech to the North Carolina State Society.
“The message I shared with my constituents is the one public health officials urged all of us to heed as coronavirus spread increased,” Burr wrote. “Be prepared.”
Burr sent out the tweets before reports of his stock sales. A spokesperson at the time for the senator said in a statement that Burr “has been deeply concerned by the steep and sudden toll this pandemic is taking on our economy” and supports congressional efforts to help the economy.
In a separate statement, Burr said he "relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision regarding the sale of stocks on February 13."
"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.”
Burr's attorney, Alice Fisher of Latham & Watkins released a statement saying the following:
“As the Senator has said, he has made the decision to step aside as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee until this investigation is resolved, and to allow the Committee to continue its essential work free of external distractions. When the issue arose, Senator Burr immediately asked the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a complete review. He has also been actively cooperating with the government’s inquiry, as he said he would. From the outset, Senator Burr has been focused on an appropriate and thorough review of the facts in this matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate.”
Three other senators who sold stocks around the same time have also been named in separate reporting.
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