March 19, 2020 8:50 pm -

Yes, you read that right.

The first clue came in this story, broken by NPR and reported by Alternet:

Three weeks ago in late February, right-wing media — from radio host Rush Limbaugh to Fox News and Fox Business — was full of Republicans and supporters of President Donald Trump insisting that the mainstream media were exaggerating the threat of coronavirus in order to harm Donald Trump’s presidency (Fox, like Trump, has since shifted its tone). But it was also three weeks ago, on February 27, that Sen. Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, was privately warning about how dangerous coronavirus was. And National Public Radio (NPR) has obtained a recording of Burr’s disturbing assertions.

According to NPR’s Tim Mak, Burr addressed the COVID-19 threat at a private luncheon organized by a North Carolina group called the Tarheel Circle. And Burr, in the recording, is heard warning that coronavirus is “much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we’ve seen in recent history. It’s probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”

Burr’s comments, according to NPR, “raise questions” about why that private audience was getting a “a more frank assessment than the general public” was getting at the time. The recording, Mak noted during a March 19 appearance on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” was provided by “an attendee who became alarmed about Burr’s dire warnings” and “began to record.”

That the above story was followed by this gem from Pro Publica is very probably no coincidence:

Soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus, the powerful chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off a significant percentage of his stocks, unloading between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions.

As the head of the intelligence committee, Burr, a North Carolina Republican, has access to the government’s most highly classified information about threats to America’s security. His committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings around this time, according to a Reuters story.

A week after Burr’s sales, the stock market began a sharp decline and has lost about 30% since.

That sure as h-e-double-hockey-sticks looks like blatant insider trading – the sort of corrupt conduct that should force Burr to be ejected from the Senate – if he does not resign first (which he won’t, because IOKIYAR) – and face felony charges.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not only agrees…

… but agrees…

wait for it…


[drum roll]

Tucker Carlson!

On Fox News Thursday, right-wing commentator Tucker Carlson laid into Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) following reports that he offloaded $1.6 dollars in stock after private briefings on coronavirus, even as he publicly downplayed its threat to the economy.

“You may have seen the news reports this afternoon that the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee sold more than a million dollars in stock in February, after learning how devastating the Chinese coronavirus could be,” said Carlson. “He had inside information about what could happen to our country, which is now happening. But he didn’t warn the public. He didn’t give a primetime address. Didn’t go on television to sound the alarm. He didn’t even disavow an op-ed he had written just ten days before claiming that America was, quote, ‘better prepared than ever for coronavirus.’”

“He didn’t do any of those things,” continued Carlson. “Instead, what did he do? He dumped his shares in hotel stocks so he wouldn’t lose money. And then he stayed silent. Now, maybe there’s an honest explanation for what he did. If there is, he should share it with the rest of us immediately. Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading.”

Even your truly can understand why some would see that convergence of opinion to be a sign of the apocalypse!

 UPDATE!   Looks like Burr isn’t alone on Capitol Hill.

 MORE UPDATE!   The insider trading scandal is expanding rapidly on Thursday evening!

en. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is a Trump loyalist, bigly, and

On Monday, March 2nd, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set its biggest-ever point gain.

But [Johnson] was massively selling.

Johnson, who has a net worth estimated at over $36 million, made a major transaction.

The exact amount is unknown, as ethics forms only require disclosure in broad ranges, but Johnson reported selling over $5 million that day — and potentially up to $25 million.

Inhofe is a vulgar, snug, science-hating knuckledragger. He also has a negative side:

Now conservative Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe has also been caught up, after reporting he sold in late February. There have been calls for the implicated lawmakers to resign from office over the scandal.


D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.