The North Carolina Republican turned over his phone after agents served a search warrant at his home in the Washington area, the official told the newspaper.
The warrant and subsequent cell phone seizure mark a notable step in the probe into whether Burr sought to profit from information he obtained in nonpublic briefings about the virus’s spread. CNN has reached out to Burr, his attorney, the Justice Department and the FBI for comment.
Burr, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been scrutinized for selling up to $1.7 million in stocks in February after he received closed-door briefings about the virus before the market began trending downward.
Still, he’s faced lingering public scrutiny from his sales — which represent a sizable share of his portfolio of stocks, according to his latest Senate financial disclosure documents, filed in May 2019, although exact numbers aren’t possible because lawmakers report trades only as a range of dollar values.
Several other senators from both parties also sold and bought stock ahead of the market downturn that resulted from the pandemic, although it’s not clear who else the Justice Department may be looking at.
Congress passed the Stock Act in 2012, which made it illegal for lawmakers to use inside information for financial benefit. Under insider trading laws, prosecutors would need to prove the lawmakers had traded based on material nonpublic information they had received in violation of a duty to keep it confidential.
Burr, however, denies he coordinated his trading with his brother-in-law that day and declined to discuss the controversy when asked whether he had been in touch with the Justice Department or the Ethics panel last week.
“I’m not addressing it at all,” he said. “Let’s let these things play out.”
CNN’s David Shortell, Evan Perez, Jeremy Herb and Kara Scannell contributed to this report.