Fox News host Tucker Carlson is calling for the resignation of Republican Senator Richard Burr, who is one of four senators currently embroiled in an insider trading scandal sparked by the coronavirus outbreak.
Burr, who is the Senate Intelligence Chairman, had access to private committee hearings and reportedly sold off up to $1.7 million worth of his stocks just ahead of the February market crash.
The Washington Examiner reports:
The senator from North Carolina, who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, offloaded between $628,000 and $1.72 million worth of stock on Feb. 13, days before the markets plummeted, ProPublica reported. There has been no indication that the senator had inside information, but he did have daily coronavirus briefings around the time and has faced rising criticism and calls for an investigation.
So Carlson wants Burr to resign.
“He had inside information about what could happen to the country which is now happening, but he didn’t warn the public,” he said during a segment on his show Thursday evening.
“He didn’t give a prime-time address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he’d written just 10 days before claiming America was ‘better prepared than ever for coronavirus.’ He didn’t do those things,” the host continued per the Washington Examiner. “Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money, and then he stayed silent.”
“Maybe there is an honest explanation for what he did,” Carlson added. “If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading.”
According to the report, a Burr spokesperson has said the senator followed adequate protocol for all personal transactions he made leading up to the crash.
“Sen. Burr filed a financial disclosure form for personal transactions made several weeks before the U.S. and financial markets showed signs of volatility due to the growing coronavirus outbreak,” the spokesperson said, as the Washington Examiner reports.
She wasn't the only onehttps://t.co/DWIEwSiVHj
— PolitiCuda (@PolitiCuda) March 20, 2020
Three other senators who had access to the hearings also sold off stocks ahead of the crash: Senators Kelly Loeffler (Illinois—Republican), Dianne Feinstein (California—Democrat) and Jim Inhofe (Iowa—Republican).
Sen. Burr and Sen. Loeffler apparently sold large sums of stock after the Senate HELP Committee they're on was briefed about the coming coronavirus crisis.
We need to know if anyone else on the committee did the same.https://t.co/smEA628AvD
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) March 20, 2020
Here’s more on Burr’s trading, per Axios:
Why it matters: Reuters reported on Feb. 27 that as chairman of the secretive committee, Burr had been receiving daily updates from the intelligence community about the outbreak.
- NPR reported earlier Thursday that Burr struck a much darker tone on Feb. 27, telling a private luncheon of constituents that the coronavirus is “much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history.”
- “It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic,” he added.
- The stock market has dropped about 30% since Burr’s sales.
Between the lines: Burr’s sell-offs — which were executed between his op-ed and later warnings — included stocks in several companies that were set to be hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, according to ProPublica.
Up to $150,000 of his sold stocks were shares of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Up to $100,000 were shares of the hospitality chain Extended Stay America.
Tourism has been one of the hardest hit industries as travel has come to a virtual standstill as a result of the pandemic.