Feinstein asked 'basic questions' by FBI over pre-pandemic stock sales, amid Burr investigation

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been questioned by law enforcement over her husband’s stock sales during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak, Fox News has confirmed.

“Senator Feinstein was asked some basic questions by law enforcement about her husband’s stock transactions, as I think all offices in the initial story were,” a spokesman for the California Democrat told Fox News on Thursday.

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“She was happy to voluntarily answer those questions to set the record straight and provided additional documents to show she had no involvement in her husband’s transactions,” the spokesman said. “There have been no follow up actions on this issue.”

Earlier this year, reports had said Feinstein, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18.

But a spokesman for Feinstein at the time denied any wrongdoing and indicated the sales involved the senator's husband, saying that “all of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust” and “she has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”

Meanwhile, an investigation has intensified into stock sales made by Republican Sen. Richard Burr during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday that Burr would step aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee amid the probe.

“Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation. We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow,” he said.

This comes after federal agents on Wednesday served a search warrant to Sen. Burr, R-N.C., at his Washington-area home. A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation confirmed to Fox News that FBI agents also confiscated the senator's cellphone.

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Suspicions arose in March after it was revealed that several senators dumped stocks prior to the coronavirus pandemic upending the global economy. Initial reports of potentially problematic stock sales also included questions about Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s stock transactions.

A spokesperson for Loeffler did not address whether the Georgia GOP senator was questioned by law enforcement but made clear no warrants have been served. The spokesperson added Thursday night that Loeffler has sent “documents and information” to the Justice Department, Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] and Senate Ethics committee, “establishing that she and her husband acted entirely appropriately and observed both the letter and the spirit of the law. The documents and information demonstrated her and her husband’s lack of involvement in their managed accounts, as well the details of those accounts. Senator Loeffler has welcomed and responded to any questions from day one.”

Loeffler recently announced the liquidation of all of her and her husband’s stock holdings in managed accounts. Loeffler -- who has said her accounts were managed by outside investment advisers -- defended herself last month.

“Let me be clear: I do not have to do this,” Loeffler said. “I’ve done everything at or above the requirements for complying with the STOCK Act, SEC regulations, Senate Ethics rules, and U.S. law, and of course, will continue to do so.”

She said the individual stock and options holdings in these managed accounts will be reinvested into exchange-traded funds and mutual funds, adding: “I’m doing this because this transparency is being abused for political gain, and the steps I’ve taken to distance myself from these accounts are being ignored.”

Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the CEO of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. According to her office, the couple has managed significant financial services businesses at “the highest levels of compliance” for nearly two decades.

Meanwhile, Burr has denied any wrongdoing and requested an ethics review of the sales. The FBI reportedly reached out to Burr to discuss the sale of as much as $1.7 million in stocks.

Senate records indicate that Burr and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to nosedive and government health officials began to sound alarms about the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels.

In March, Burr’s attorney, Alice Fisher of Latham & Watkins, said in a statement to Fox News that the senator welcomed any review of his stock sales.

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“The law is clear that any American — including a senator — may participate in the stock market based on public information, as Senator Burr did,” Fisher said. “When this issue arose, Senator Burr immediately asked the Senate Ethics Committee to conduct a complete review, and he will cooperate with that review, as well as any other appropriate inquiry.”

She added: “Senator Burr welcomes a thorough review of the facts in the matter, which will establish that his actions were appropriate.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.