An American politician steps down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after his cell phone was seized by FBI agents.
Republican Senator Richard Burr is the subject of an investigation into his share transactions before the collapse of the American stock market in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reports say Mr. Burr and other senators have sold shares after being privately informed of the risks of COVID-19[female[feminine crisis.
The FBI is apparently investigating whether Mr. Burr has broken laws about these transactions.
Burr denied any wrongdoing and said he relied solely on the information to guide decisions on the sale of shares.
He told reporters on Thursday that he had decided to withdraw because he did not want the investigation to divert the intelligence committee from its work.
“I thought it was the best thing to do,” said Burr.
Since March, the United States Department of Justice has reportedly investigated Mr. Burr’s transactions in mid-February.
He has apparently sold shares in dozens of companies, many of them in sectors hit hard by the pandemic, such as hotels, restaurants and shipping.
Mr. Burr gave his phone to officers after they served him a search warrant at his Washington home.
The FBI also recently issued a warrant to Apple to obtain information from Mr. Burr’s cloud storage for his iPhone, a law enforcement official told the Los Angeles Times.
Law enforcement officers used the technology company’s data as evidence to obtain the phone warrant, the report added.
Senate Majority Officer Mitch McConnell said Mr. Burr “contacted me this morning to inquire about his decision to step down as chairman of the information commission during the course of the inquiry “.
“We agreed that this decision would be in the best interest of the committee and would be effective at the end of the day tomorrow.”
President Trump said he knew nothing about Mr. Burr’s decision to resign.
“I don’t know … it’s a shame,” he told reporters.