If President Donald Trump really wants to "drain the swamp," he can start with his own party.
On January 24, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield and National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NAID) director Anthony Fauci briefed Senators on how the Trump administration would be responding to the imminent COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. The briefing was private.
Shortly after, multiple Republican Senators, including Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), sold a collective millions of dollars in stocks.
Both Senators were publicly echoing President Donald Trump's administration that lawmakers were prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here's Loeffler assuring her constituents of a strong economy and ample preparation for the pandemic as recently as March 10.
Concerned about #coronavirus? Remember this: The consumer is strong, the economy is strong, & jobs are growing, w… https://t.co/5uiFLmssx8— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@Senator Kelly Loeffler)1583882675.0
In addition to Loeffler selling millions of dollars in stock, she also invested hundreds of thousands in Citrix—a telework company. Citrix's stock saw an uptick as Americans were encouraged to work remotely. Loeffler's husband is also the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
In private, Burr warned high profile constituents that the pandemic could result in a stock market plunge and cripple numerous industries—including that of business travel. Burr sold stocks in Wyndham Hotels and Extended Stay America—both of whose stock prices would plummet after Americans across the country would be urged to begin working from home.
Burr's February stock sales rose exponentially after the briefing.
Soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus, the powerful chair… https://t.co/PTr1q3jFLl— ProPublica (@ProPublica)1584664685.0
Given the Senators' private intel, some are accusing them of insider trading, which became illegal for members of Congress in 2012.
Even their fellow Republicans are calling on them to explain—and even resign.
Shameful: While Richard Burr was receiving daily briefings on the Chinese Virus and reassuring Americans that the… https://t.co/6bM2ryILMr— Charlie Kirk (@Charlie Kirk)1584660517.0
Those who could “stand up to Trump and protect the American people...were too worried about their pocketbooks, acce… https://t.co/hkmlXjd9wf— Bill Kristol (@Bill Kristol)1584708140.0
Tucker Carlson calls for Senator Burr to resign and await prosecution for insider trading if he cannot provide a re… https://t.co/iDAvnKLEwp— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn Torabi)1584666283.0
Other Republicans began accusing Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) of selling her stock in response to the briefing as well, though it appears these sales were different, with Feinstein selling her stock at its lowest price in 52 weeks, before it rose then fell again in response to the epidemic.
Feinstein sold $ALLO on the day it hit a 52-week low. RSI in the gutter. Then it bounced a huge amount before… https://t.co/KKU0RwndEm— Frankly Wokenstein (@Frankly Wokenstein)1584673474.0
Loeffler claims that the accusations against her are "ridiculous," and that a third party handles her stock market transactions. She claims she didn't know of the sales until weeks after.
This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions… https://t.co/miF2gIoL1a— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@Senator Kelly Loeffler)1584678323.0
As confirmed in the periodic transaction report to Senate Ethics, I was informed of these purchases and sales on Fe… https://t.co/R7q3DclEtz— Senator Kelly Loeffler (@Senator Kelly Loeffler)1584678323.0
Burr said he relied solely on public news for his stock information.
My statement in response to reports about recent financial disclosures: https://t.co/J4kye5a4ok— Richard Burr (@Richard Burr)1584714538.0
Even after the questionable defenses, Americans across the country maintain that Loeffler and Burr's actions are a disgrace to their offices.
GOP Senators Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler’s pre-pandemic insider trading hit a nerve of anger within me that I h… https://t.co/rgSDmLcKtr— Elise Jordan (@Elise Jordan)1584667560.0
Whether your last name is Burr or Loeffler, and are an R or D, if your immediate reaction upon learning of an impen… https://t.co/IR4FCjH7go— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@Ana Navarro-Cárdenas)1584669563.0
Republicans Senators Burr and Loeffler both knew that coronavirus was going to cause massive problems for Americans… https://t.co/kDWdOMS2Mp— Josh Jordan (@Josh Jordan)1584668822.0
Senator Loeffler and Senator Burr should be indicted, convicted, sentenced and jailed. If we sent Martha Stewart to jail for this...— Wajahat "Please Stay Home If You Can" Ali (@Wajahat "Please Stay Home If You Can" Ali)1584666129.0
Their corruption is threatening to haunt Donald Trump as well.
If we had a DOJ that wasn't about protecting political allies or a Senate Ethics Committee that wasn't Trump lapdog… https://t.co/upVWsIouRs— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot)1584712391.0
The fish always rots from the head. For all intents and purposes, trump IS the rotting fish head in the WH. The e… https://t.co/DxPS9nLgA7— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!)1584683967.0
The only reason we know about Burr and Loeffler is they have to report their trades. The president and his famili… https://t.co/LvluU3zD7W— Tim Miller (@Tim Miller)1584669358.0
The swamp is murkier than ever.