Rubio Tapped to Chair Senate Intel Committee During Burr Probe

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 24, 2020, as the Senate works to pass a coronavirus relief bill. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (CN) — With Senator Richard Burr stepping down from the position amid a probe into his stock transactions, Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio will take over as acting chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Senator Rubio was the natural choice for this temporary assignment on the basis of accumulated committee service,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Monday announcing Rubio’s appointment. “His proven leadership on pertinent issues only made the decision easier.”

Rubio takes the gavel on the committee less than a week after Burr, R-N.C., temporarily stepped down while an investigation into a series of stock sales he made in mid-February plays out. Across 33 transactions, Burr reportedly sold off between $628,000 and $1.72 million in holdings just before markets plunged due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Burr at the time was privy to classified briefings about the outbreak, though he has insisted he made the sales based on public information. Burr stepped down last week, a day after FBI agents seized his cellphone while executing a search warrant at his home near Washington.

Rubio has served on the Intelligence Committee since he first came to the Senate in 2011 and is the third-highest ranking member on the committee, behind Burr and Senator Jim Risch.

“I am grateful to Leader McConnell for his confidence in me to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee during Senator Burr’s absence from the chairmanship,” Rubio said in a statement. “The committee has long been one that conducts its work seriously and I look forward to continuing that tradition.”

The committee’s next scheduled meeting is a closed briefing on Tuesday morning.

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