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News Wrap: Burr steps down as head of Senate Intel Committee over trading inquiry

In our news wrap Thursday, Sen. Richard Burr stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee over allegations of insider trading linked to the pandemic. The North Carolina Republican sold large amounts of stock just before the market crashed. Also, a powerful typhoon struck the eastern Philippines. Heavy rain and winds forced thousands to evacuate and crowd together at shelters.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Tensions between hopes for a recovery and fears of new outbreaks made for another choppy day on Wall Street. But in the end, the market made up some lost ground. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 377 points to close at 23625. The Nasdaq rose 80 points, and the S&P 500 added 32.

    U.S. Senator Richard Burr stepped aside as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee over allegations of insider trading linked to the pandemic. The North Carolina Republican sold large amounts of stock just before the financial markets crashed in February.

    Burr spoke briefly today outside his Senate office after federal agents seized his phone on Wednesday.

  • Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.:

    This is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members. And I think the security of the country is too important to have a distraction.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Burr says that his stock transactions were based solely on publicly available information.

    The Senate voted today to reinstate surveillance provisions of the law used in terrorism investigations. Parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, expired in March. The Senate added new civil liberties protections and sent it back to the House for a final vote.

    House Democrats are moving ahead with plans to vote tomorrow on a new pandemic relief bill. It totals $3 trillion for aid to state and local governments and more payments to Americans.

    But, this time, Republicans and Democrats are divided, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made clear today.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    It still reads like the speaker of the House pasted together some random ideas from her most liberal members and slapped the word coronavirus on top of it, an unserious product from an unserious House majority that has spent months dealing itself out of the crisis.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    Now we're putting our offer on the table. We're open to negotiation.

    And so, when people say partisan, it's like, it wasn't partisan when they did it. Did you say that? And we're saying, OK, here's our offer. Let's see where you are.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Senate is not expected to consider the bill until after Memorial Day.

    In the Philippines, a powerful typhoon struck the Eastern part of the country, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages. Thousands of people had to go to crowded shelters, despite the lack of social distancing, in order to escape heavy rain and winds near 100 miles an hour.

    The swearing-in of Israel's new government was delayed today over infighting for Cabinet positions. Instead, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival, Benny Gantz, announced that the ceremony will take place on Sunday. They agreed to a power-sharing deal to avoid a fourth election in the last year-and-a-half.

    And back in this country, a federal appeals court revived a lawsuit charging that President Trump is still profiting from his Washington, D.C., hotel while he's in office. The District of Columbia and the state of Maryland have argued that he is violating the Constitution.

    The Justice Department and Mr. Trump's personal attorney said that they will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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