FBI Seizes Phone of Senator Suspected of Insider Trading

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.Sen. Richard Burr, suspected of insider trading based on coronavirus briefings he got as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had his cell phone seized today:

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.
….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.

It is a sign of the times that this has prompted a surprising amount of suspicion:

A lot more is needed to develop the record, but I do think this is a moment to be seriously on guard for DOJ being used to carry out political retribution. Serving a warrant on a senator is a very significant and rapid escalation and Trump has long had an axe to grind with Burr. https://t.co/mGravZJyoq
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) May 14, 2020

Stay tuned.

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