Congress Intelligence

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., gives opening remarks Tuesday, May. 5, 2020, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(The Center Square) – A day after his cellphone was seized by federal agents as part of an FBI investigation into insider trading, North Carolina U.S. Sen. Richard Burr is leaving his position as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“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,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a statement. “We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow.”

The Los Angeles Times reported FBI agents seized Burr's cellphone Wednesday night as part of an investigation into whether Burr illegally traded stocks at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

Citing an unnamed law enforcement source, the newspaper reported Burr turned over his phone at his residence in the Washington, D.C., area after federal agents produced a search warrant.

Burr sold a large portion of his stock portfolio Feb. 13. Members of Congress are prevented from trading on insider information they have gleaned from their official work.

The newspaper also reported FBI agents recently served a warrant on Apple to get information from Burr’s iCloud account. It said agents used that data as evidence for the warrant for Burr's phone.

Burr, a Republican, was elected to the Senate in 2004. Before becoming senator, Burr served in the U.S. House for 10 years.

Regional Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.