Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has stepped down as the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Thursday.
Burr has been under scrutiny since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic after it was revealed he sold a hefty load of his stock portfolio while receiving closed-door briefings on the impending health crisis. He's now under an FBI investigation for possible insider trading, and on Thursday, McConnell said Burr would step down for the duration of that investigation.
"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. We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee," McConnell said in a statement. Burr has denied wrongdoing.
Burr was found to have privately warned donors about the adverse economic effects that would likely coincide with the coronavirus' rise back in February, even though he downplayed the virus' severity publicly. He was later found to have sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his stocks in 33 separate transactions on Feb. 13, while he was getting private briefings from health officials. The FBI reportedly served Burr a search warrant and seized his cell phone on Wednesday.