North Carolina Republican Richard Burr stepped aside as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee amid an FBI investigation into his stock trades, The Washington Post reports.
"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 on Thursday, suggested that Burr could return once the probe wraps up.
“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,” McConnell said.
The move came after the FBI reportedly served Burr with a search warrant and seized his phone in an investigation of up to $1.6 million in stock sales he made after a private coronavirus briefing and before the market plunged.
“This is a distraction to the hard work of the committee, and the members and I think that the security of the country is too important to have a distraction,” Burr told reporters on Thursday.
Feinstein, Loeffler under scrutiny:
Aides to California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler said on Thursday that federal law enforcement officials have talked to them as well in connection to stock trades they made around the same time.
Feinstein was interviewed by the FBI about the stock sales, which she said were done by her husband without her knowledge.
Loeffler’s office said she turned over documents related to the stock sales, which she says she was not involved in.
Rubio to replace Burr?
McConnell said that he will pick Burr’s replacement in the coming days. Normally, the job would go to Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, the second most senior Republican on the panel.
But Risch already chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and would have to give up that spot to fill in for Burr. Senators expect Risch to stick with his current committee, The Hill reported.
Florida Republican Marco Rubio appears to be the next in line and indicated that he would be happy to take on the job.
“I’ll do whatever they ask but it’s not up to me. It’s a select committee. The majority leader makes the decision,” Rubio told reporters.