Justice Department drops insider trading probes of three senators

The Department of Justice has closed insider trading probes into three senators who sold off stocks after early briefings on the coronavirus, aides told NBC News.

A spokesman for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., confirmed she’d been informed that DOJ dropped a probe into her trades, and called the allegations “politically motivated.”

“Today’s clear exoneration by the Department of Justice affirms what Senator Loeffler has said all along — she did nothing wrong. This was a politically-motivated attack shamelessly promoted by the fake news media and her political opponents. Senator Loeffler will continue to focus her full attention on delivering results for Georgians,” said the spokesman, Stephen Lawson.

A Democratic aide said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was informed that DOJ was dropping a probe into her over stock trades made by her husband in the wake of her briefings.

A similar probe into Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., was also being dropped, according to a spokesman — but another against Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., was continuing. The development was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Burr’s office did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the DOJ declined comment on the Journal report.

“As I’ve said all along, I wasn’t even at the briefing and do not make my own stock trades,” Inhofe told The Oklahoman. “I did nothing wrong, and I’m pleased the Justice Department has exonerated me.”

Burr temporarily stepped aside as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month after the FBI seized his cellphone as part of its investigation into his trades.

Unlike the other senators, Burr has acknowledged directing his trades himself. He maintained he didn’t use inside information and said in March he “relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision regarding the sale of stocks on February 13.”

Loeffler said after the trades were disclosed that she’d been unaware of the transactions at the time they were made.

“I have no involvement in these decisions. I don’t have conversations with them about any of this, and so this is a very third-party relationship that many people are familiar with,” she told CNBC in March.

A Feinstein spokesman told NBC News at the time her husband’s trades were disclosed and hat she “did not sell any stock. The transactions you’re referencing were made by her spouse. All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust, as they have been since she came to the Senate. She has no involvement in any of her husband’s financial decisions.”

Inhofe told reporters at the time that “I do not have any involvement in my investment decisions.”

“In December 2018, shortly after becoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I instructed my financial advisor to move me out of all stocks and into mutual funds to avoid any appearance of controversy. My advisor has been doing so faithfully since that time and I am not aware of or consulted about any transactions,” Inhofe said.

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