FBI suspects US senator of using insider information about coronavirus
US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents seized the personal phone number of an influential Republican Senator from North Carolina as part of an investigation of stock transactions by members of the US Congress at the onset of the coronavirus crisis, MarketWatch writes.
Senator Richard Barr, a North Carolina Republican who heads the Senate intelligence committee, handed his phone to agents after they handed him a search warrant at his home in Washington, an anonymous intelligence official said.
The Senate Intelligence Committee last month released a report saying that Russia intervened in the 2016 presidential election in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump, rejecting Trump’s allegations that the intelligence community was biased against him.
The Department of Justice began investigating Barr’s stock transactions in late March to determine if he had violated a law prohibiting members of Congress from trading insider information they obtained while working.
Burr sold as much as $ 1.7 million a week in public trading before COVID-19‘s increased distribution led to a market crash. He was one of the few lawmakers to participate in confidential virus briefings with US health officials.
Barr got rid of stocks by publicly downplaying the risks associated with the virus in media publications and elsewhere, co-writing a Fox News article about the country “better prepared than ever before,” to coronavirus pandemics.
The senator stated that his transactions were based solely on media reports and suggested that the Senate Ethics Committee consider the sales.
In late March, it became known that the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission began checking stock transactions made in recent weeks by members of the US Congress who had access to classified information about the spread of coronavirus and the impact of rising diseases on the economy.
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