Sen. Richard Burr Steps Down As Intelligence Committee Chairman After FBI Raid

Sen. Richard Burr Steps Down As Intelligence Committee Chairman After FBI Raid”

Let's go now to an update on a story NPR broke earlier this spring. The oldest member of Congress, she sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock from a California biotech company called Allogene Therapeutics between January 31 and February 18, according to disclosure forms. And this was weeks before the pandemic sent markets into freefall. Kelly Loeffler admitted in a statement Thursday that she has turned over documents to federal authorities who are investigating alleged insider trading by her and other members of Congress.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a vote for next Tuesday to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee John Ratcliffe to the post of Director of National Intelligence, two Congressional sources told Reuters.

TIM MAK, BYLINE: Hey there. James Risch, who told reporters Thursday that he didn't know whether he would keep his current perch as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or move to the intelligence panel.

Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that Mr Burr had informed him of his decision.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr has submitted the final report in the panel's three-year Russian Federation investigation to the intelligence community for a declassification review. Burr has denied wrongdoing.

Republican Burr and the committee's vice chairman, Democrat Mark Warner, said they submitted a classified report as well as what they believe is a "properly redacted, unclassified version" totaling nearly 1,000 pages. He warned about travel, he warned about schools, and he said that the pandemic would be possibly as bad as the influenza pandemic of 1918.

Burr faces no public accusations by the government that he exploited inside information received during briefings.

On the same day, Burr's brother-in-law sold as much as $280,000 worth of shares, ProPublica reported last week. So it's hard to overstate how big this latest development is.

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The agents have reportedly used data obtained from Apple as part of the evidence used to obtain the warrant for the senator's phone. And then they would have needed to show a judge probable cause that a crime had been committed to get this warrant. The cellphone was Senate-issued and investigators have requested Apple to provide information from the senator's iCloud backup. A separate briefing was held February 12 by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which Burr is a member.

MARTIN: Right. So he's not the only one who's had these questions raised about the timing of stock transactions, though.

While most senators attributed stock sales to other people, Burr said he himself made the sales, though he said there was nothing wrong with what he did.

Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, who's chair of the New York Stock Exchange, traded massive volumes of stocks after a Senate coronavirus briefing in March. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she was asked "some basic questions" by law enforcement about sales her husband made and had voluntarily answered questions.

Sprecher and Loeffler's sales began on the same day that Loeffler attended a senators-only briefing on the coronavirus.

News of the warrant also underscored the public scrutiny surrounding the stock market activities of multiple senators and their families around the same time.

Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler has forwarded documents and information about stock trades by her and her husband to the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee, CNBC quoted a representative for Ms. Loeffler as saying on Thursday. NPR's Tim Mak, we appreciate it.

MARTIN: Yeah. And she says she acted appropriately.

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