The FBI seized Senator Richard Burr’s (R-NC) phone Wednesday evening in connection with the federal probe into his stock trades.
The LA Times reported
Federal agents seized a cellphone belonging to a prominent Republican senator on Wednesday night as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into controversial stock trades he made as the novel coronavirus first struck the U.S., a law enforcement official said.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, turned over his phone to agents after they served a search warrant on the lawmaker at his residence in the Washington area, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a law enforcement action.
To obtain a search warrant, federal agents and prosecutors must persuade a judge they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The law enforcement official said the Justice Department is examining Burr’s communications with his broker.
Burr dumped as much as $1.72 million in hotel stocks before the Coronavirus panic hit the US while reassuring the public about Coronavirus preparedness.
This was also at the same time Burr was receiving daily briefings on the Coronavirus health threat.
Privately Burr sounded the alarm and compared Coronavirus to the 1918 “Spanish Flu” that nearly wiped out 10% of the world’s population at the time — including 675,000 Americans by some estimates.
“There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” he said, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR. “It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”
Publicly, however, Burr downplayed the virus.
Burr previously said he got his information from public news reports.
“I relied solely on public news reports to guide my decisions regarding the sale of stocks on February 13,” Burr said. “Specifically, I closely followed CNBC’s daily health and science reporting out of its Asia bureaus at the time.”
NEWS: FBI seized Sen. Burr’s phone tonight in connection with the federal probe into his stock trades.
Agents served a search warrant on Burr at his house tonight. https://t.co/Ynjv6dF6ns
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) May 14, 2020