ProPublica reports that N.C. Sen. Richard Burr -- the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- sold as much as $1.6 million in stock on Feb. 13, during which time he was reportedly being briefed on the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.
ProPublica cited a Reuters story from February that said Burr's committee was receiving frequent reports about COVID-19 during that time.
From Reuters: "A source familiar with the activities of the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, said the panel was receiving daily updates."
Thursday's report about the stock sale comes on the same day NPR reported that Burr gave a small group politically connected constituents grave warnings about the severity of the coronavirus while not making those same warnings public.
"There's one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history," he said, according to a secret recording of the remarks obtained by NPR. "It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic."
NPR said the luncheon was organized by the Tar Heel Circle, whose website says its members "enjoy interaction with top leaders and staff from Congress, the administration and the private sector."
On Thursday, Burr wrote on Twitter that the NPR story was "a tabloid-style hit piece" and that NPR "knowingly and irresponsibly misrepresented a speech I gave last month about the coronavirus threat."
In a tabloid-style hit piece today, NPR knowingly and irresponsibly misrepresented a speech I gave last month about the coronavirus threat.
Let me set the record straight. 1/
— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) March 19, 2020
Burr said the Tar Heel Circle was not a secretive group and that the White House had also been giving the public warnings that the virus could upend American life. During that time, however, president Trump was consistantely downplaying the threat of the virus.
Burr had not addressed the Pro Publica story as on 7 p.m. Thursday. Burr has said he is not running for reelection in 2022.
The stock sales can be seen here.
Click here for the latest coronavirus news on WFAE’s live blog.
Sign up here for The Frequency, WFAE’s daily email newsletter.
What questions do you have about the coronavirus? What has this experience been like for you? Share your questions below.