The furor began after ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, reported that Burr unloaded the stock around mid-February, about a week before the market started to plunge because of coronavirus concerns.
Burr’s decision, which will go into effect on Friday, comes at a crucial moment for the committee. It’s expected to vote next week on Rep. John Ratcliffe’s nomination to be the next director of national intelligence and the committee is expected to release its final report on Russian interference in the 2016 election by the August recess.
Schumer, D-N.Y., called for the investigations on MSNBC Saturday after Burr, R-N.C., Feinstein, D-Calif., as well as Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., were hit with allegations of selling large amounts of stocks before the coronavirus crisis rocked Wall Street.
“The answer, in one word, is yes. There should be and there will be,” Schumer said on MSNBC. “I don’t own any stocks. I think it’s a very bad idea for senators to own stocks.”
Financial disclosure statements indicated that Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C.; Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.; Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga.; and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; their spouses or advisers sold large chunks of stock around the time lawmakers received behind-the-scenes briefings about the severity of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 3,600 lives in the USA.
Senate records show that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to nosedive and government health officials began to sound alarms about the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.
Esper also said the so-called Gang of Eight, the top members of Congress’s intelligence committees, did not believe further intelligence on Iran should be shared with Congress.
Esper told CBS’s Margaret Brennan he spoke to one of the officials who briefed the Gang of Eight and that “his assessment was most if not all the members thought the intelligence was persuasive and that the Gang of Eight did not think it should be released to the broader members of Congress.”