The FBI seized North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr’s cellphone after serving him with a search warrant at his home on Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Burr turned the phone over to FBI agents at his Washington DC residence, according to the report.
The move came after the FBI served a search warrant to Apple to get into Burr’s iCloud account.
The FBI used the information gleaned from the iCloud account to secure a warrant for his phone.
The Los Angeles Times noted that it would have required prosecutors to persuade a judge that they have probable cause that a “crime has been committed.”
Since Burr is the sitting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, it would have required approval from the highest ranks of the Justice Department.
The investigation was launched after ProPublica reported that Burr sold up to $1.6 million in stocks after attending a coronavirus briefing before the stock market plunged.
Burr denied any wrongdoing and said he was acting only on public reports. He called for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the transactions.
Schumer says premature to call on Burr to step down:
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said it was too early to call for Burr to resign.
“I haven’t seen the reports, I just read the headlines so it’s premature for me to comment on that. I don’t own any stocks. I have told my colleagues in the Senate that at the very least it creates the appearance of a conflict so it’s better not to own any,” he told CNBC. “I cannot comment on Burr until I know the details.”
Other senators not contacted:
Other senators, including Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler, Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, and California Democrat Dianne Feinstein also sold stock around the same time. None of them have been contacted by the FBI, they said.
Loeffler, whose husband runs the New York Stock Exchange, denied that she had anything to do with the transactions.
Inhofe and Feinstein similarly said they do not oversee their stock portfolios.