Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) is temporarily stepping down from his role as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, pending an investigation into allegations of insider trading.

Burr is under fire for selling $1.7 million worth of stock with his wife in February, weeks before the stock market dropped as investors worried the coronavirus would have a greater impact than initially expected. Whether he used information from a classified Senate briefing to inform his financial decision, which would be a violation of the STOCK act, is currently under investigation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said in a statement Thursday that 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.”

After McConnell’s announcement, Burr told reporters he does not believe his stock trades were inappropriate but will let the investigation play out.


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He will remain a member of the committee but said he decided to step down as chairman because “this is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members and I think the security of the country is too important to have any distractions.”

Burr’s move came the day after the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized his phone and served his lawyer with a search warrant. The cellphone was Senate-issued and investigators have requested Apple to provide information from the senator’s iCloud backup.

McConnell did not immediately name a temporary replacement for Burr’s role, but Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is looking like a potential frontrunner.

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