FBI Serves Warrant on Sen. Richard Burr, Confiscate Cell Phone In Insider Trading Probe

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 9: Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., questions witnesses during the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on "The State of VA Health Care" on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – You’ve heard of ‘Buyer’s Remorse,’ but what Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)U.S. is likely feeling right now would be termed ‘Seller’s Remorse.’ Burr was served a warrant by FBI agents Wednesday evening as part of the ongoing insider trading investigation focused on his suspicious sale of more than a million dollars in stock. The agents confiscated a cell phone.

From the L.A. Times:

“Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, turned over his phone to agents after they served a search warrant on the lawmaker at his residence in the Washington area, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a law enforcement action.

The seizure represents a significant escalation in the investigation into whether Burr violated a law preventing members of Congress from trading on insider information they have gleaned from their official work.

To obtain a search warrant, federal agents and prosecutors must persuade a judge they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The law enforcement official said the Justice Department is examining Burr’s communications with his broker.

Such a warrant being served on a sitting U.S. senator would require approval from the highest ranks of the Justice Department and is a step that would not be taken lightly. Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment.

A second law enforcement official said FBI agents served a warrant in recent days on Apple to obtain information from Burr’s iCloud account and said agents used data obtained from the California-based company as part of the evidence used to obtain the warrant for the senator’s phone. […]”

As way of background, Sen. Burr was privy to classified briefings warning of the coronavirus, and the economic fallout to come, weeks before the implications of the Wuhan virus were publicly and while stocks were still near all-time highs. Burr downplayed the risks publicly, while privately comparing the coming scourge to the 1918 pandemic and presumably telling his broker to ‘SELL!SELL!SELL!’

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Insider trading laws are quite nuanced, but the legal framework for congress got a lot stiffer in recent years thanks to investigative journalism that showed just how often elected officials in congress used their privileged access to market moving information to profit (or avoid losses) in their own portfolios.

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Being that Burr has heretofore been the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, known for his high degree of confidence in intel and law enforcement agencies, even carrying water for them during the Trump/Russia Collusion hoax, it is quite notable that FBI agents are now serving him with warrants.

It was Burr that pressured Apple to provide backdoor access to their phones for the FBI or other law enforcement agencies (Apple refused) when they could not at first unlock the San Benardino jihadist attackers iPhones (the FBI later gained access, somehow). Now the FBI is using info from Burr’s iCloud account to justify a warrant and search of his phone.

What goes around, comes around, we guess.

For more on Burr’s stock sales, and the possible consequences if he’s found guilty, go here.

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