Apr 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Burr owes the country an explanation for stock trades, Tillis says

Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. Photos: Al Drago/Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) "owes everybody in North Carolina and the United States an explanation" after his February stock sell-off that followed private briefings on the coronavirus outbreak, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) told radio host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's a rare condemnation from Burr's fellow North Carolina senator. Few Republicans, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), have spoken out against Burr or Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who also came under fire for dumping stocks just before the pandemic hit the U.S.

The big picture: Tillis stopped short of asking Burr to resign as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Department of Justice is investigating Burr's stock trades, according to the Washington Post, and Tillis said he will "see where the facts lead."

  • "With respect to his chairmanship, that’s a decision that he and, that would be better left to him and the leadership," Tillis said.

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Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimated 4.8% contraction — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business