Fox News host Tucker Carlson called for the resignation and prosecution of Senate Intelligence chair Richard Burr (R-NC) after he was accused of dumping up to $1.7 million worth of stocks on February 13 after being informed about the severity of the coronavirus threat, March 19 reports from ProPublica and the Daily Beast said. He made up to 33 separate stock transactions.
“Maybe there is an honest explanation for what he did,” Carlson said. “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.”
He added: “There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis.”
At the time Burr sold his stocks, the government had maintained the coronavirus outbreak was under control.
As noted by the Daily Beast, Burr sold up to $100,000 of Extended Stay America shares and as much as $150,000 of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts shares.
A week after Burr’s sell-off, the markets dropped by 30 percent.
“He had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening, but he didn’t warn the public,” Carlson said. “He didn’t give a primetime address. He didn’t go on television to sound the alarm.”
Nearly a week before selling at least $1 million in stocks, Burr wrote an op-ed for Fox News where he promised the country was ready to battle COVID-19: “The United States today is better prepared than ever before to face emerging public health threats, like the coronavirus.”
Burr continued: “No matter the outbreak or threat, Congress and the federal government have been vigilant in identifying gaps in its readiness efforts and improving its response capabilities.”
In response to ProPublica’s story, Burr’s spokesperson said: “Senator 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.”
AOC Calls For Burr To Resign
Like Carlson, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., also called for Burr to resign. Burr “got private briefings about Coronavirus weeks ago. Burr knew how bad it would be,” she tweeted. “He told the truth to his wealthy donors while assuring the public that we were fine. THEN he sold off $1.6 million in stock before the fall. He needs to resign.”
Burr isn’t the only senator who’s being looked at for possible insider trading. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) also sold millions in stocks after senators were briefed about the coronavirus. Her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the CEO of Intercontinental Exchange. Intercontinental Exchange owns the New York Stock Exchange, which he purchased for $8.2 billion in 2013.
Is This What Martha Stewart Did?
On social media, “Martha Stewart” began to trend as netizens began to question if Burr and Loeffler were potentially guilty of the same crime the businesswoman went to prison for.
In 2004, Stewart was found guilty of obstruction of justice, lying to federal investigators and conspiracy after she sold 4,000 shares of the ImClone stock, which led her to avoid a loss of $45,000. Stewart maintained her innocence but was sentenced to five months behind bars.