WASHINGTON -UNS/BBC- The Republican chairman of the US Senate intelligence committee will resign from the post amid an insider trading investigation.
Richard Burr of North Carolina would step down on 15 May, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. It has emerged on Thursday that Mr Burr’s phone has been seized by the FBI as part of the probe.
The senator is alleged to have used inside information to avoid market losses from coronavirus. He and his wife sold as much as $1.7m (£1.4m) of equities in February, just before markets plunged on fears of an economic crisis.
It is illegal for members of Congress to trade based on non-public information gathered during their official duties.
Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, as well as Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, also reportedly sold holdings before the downturn, but are not confirmed to be under investigation.
Ms Feinstein said she answered questions from the FBI regarding trades made by her husband, however.
Mr Burr’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Mr McConnell said in a statement on Thursday: “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 this investigation.
We agreed that this decision would be in the best interest of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow.”