Tucker Carlson calls on Burr to explain reported $1.6M stock sale or resign

Tucker Carlson Thursday called on Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., to resign if he can't explain why he sold millions in stock in mid-February before the market fell amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“He had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening," Carlson said on his show "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Burr was reportedly briefed about the potentially devastating effects of the virus in the U.S. last month.

"But he didn’t warn the public,” Carlson said.

Carlson said Burr didn't even disavow a Fox News op-ed he co-wrote with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., "just 10 days before, claiming that America was better prepared than ever before for coronavirus."

He said Burr instead "dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money and then he stayed silent."

Carlson added if there’s an honest explanation for Burr’s actions, he should explain himself.

Sen. Richard Burr sold roughly $1.6M in stock before coronavirus crippled stock market, report finds

“Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading,” he told his audience. “There is no greater moral crime than betraying your country in a time of crisis.”

Burr is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and attended closed-door meetings for weeks about the growing health crisis along with Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., a member of the Senate Health Committee, who similarly sold stock in January.

"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," a Burr spokesperson told Fox News. "As the situation continues to evolve daily, he has been deeply concerned by the steep and sudden toll this pandemic is taking on our economy. He supported Congress’ immediate efforts to provide $7.8 billion for response efforts and this week’s bipartisan bill to provide relief for American business and small families.”

Burr sold between $582,029 and $1.56 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 29 separate transactions, according to Pro Publica.

This followed another report by NPR, which alleged Burr warned "a small group of well-connected constituents" at a luncheon in late February about the potential impact of the virus, according to a secret recording of the conversation that NPR obtained.

"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," Burr said in the recording. "It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic."

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Burr said NPR “misrepresented” his speech, which he claimed was publicly advertised and widely attended.

Fox News' Joseph A Wulfsohn contributed to this report.