North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr will be stepping down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee this week after the FBI searched the senator’s home and siezed his phone in an investigation over insider trading.
“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 Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “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.”
NEW: Intel Chairman @SenatorBurr is giving up his role as Chairman effective end of day tomorrow.
— Alex Miller (@AlexMillerNews) May 14, 2020
On Wednesday, federal law enforcement served a search warrant at Burr’s Washington, D.C. residence and took his phone escalating the Department of Justice’s probe into Burr’s alleged white collar crimes.
In March, Burr was caught by ProPublica selling off up to $1.7 million in stocks following classified congressional briefings on the coming pandemic from the novel Wuhan coronavirus. Burr made 33 transactions while touting the government’s readiness to combat the public health crisis. One week after, the economy began to take its turn as stocks began to plummet setting off the worst economic outlook since the Great Depression.
Burr has since denied any accusations of leveraging insider knowledge in making the 33 transactions that saved the senator a fortune.
“I closely followed CNBC’s daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time,” Burr said in a statement following ProPublica’s report.
Federalist Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway wrote in March that the recent scandal is only the latest reason Burr should be stripped of his powerful chairmanship after perpetuating the grand Russian collusion conspiracy theory implicating President Donald Trump was an agent of the Kremlin.
“Burr had already let the country down in that role,” Hemingway wrote. “Under his leadership, the Senate Intelligence Committee was worse than useless at overseeing the intelligence community’s handling of the bizarre theory that Donald Trump was involved in an elaborate conspiracy with Russia to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton.”
Burr helped perpetuate the idea that this was a reasonable and not insane theory, and took many actions to protect those who spied on the Trump campaign, leaked against Trump administration officials, and withheld evidence from the real congressional overseers on other Senate committees and in the House of the Representatives.
The only notable thing to have happened in that committee over the course of the Russia collusion hoax was the arrest of one of its staffers for lying regarding his leaks of information to reporters he was intimate with.