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Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Photo: Toni L. Sandys-Pool/Getty Images

The Justice Department is closing its inquiries into stock selloffs by Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that occurred after the lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

The big picture: The investigation into trades by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who stepped down as chair of Senate Intelligence Committee pending the results of the inquiry, is reportedly continuing. Burr's cell phone was seized by the FBI earlier this month.

  • Burr had more direct involvement in his trades than the senators, and claims he relied on CNBC reports coming out of Asia — not private briefings — to make his decisions.
  • Burr's sale of over $1.72 million of stock on Feb. 13 included stake in the hotel chains Wyndham and Extended Stay America.

Catch up quick: Loeffler, Inhofe and Feinstein sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock following briefings in January that detailed the potential economic devastation of the coming pandemic.

  • Lawmakers are prohibited from insider trading via the 2012 "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act," which blocks members of Congress and their staff from managing investment portfolios based on nonpublic information.

All three senators claim they had no personal involvement in the selloffs, and did not use their knowledge of the virus' incoming toll to influence the decisions of their investment managers.

  • Only Loeffler is up for re-election this year, and she is facing a hotly contested primary against Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.)
  • Polling shows the allegations of misconduct have hurt Loeffler's standing with constituents.

Go deeper

Democrats outraged over intel chief's move to halt in-person election briefings

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) slammed Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe as a "Trump stooge" for his decision to no longer provide in-person briefings to Congress on election security issues, joining the chorus of Democrats who have condemned the move.

The big picture: Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who was confirmed for the position overseeing U.S. intelligence agencies in May, said he made the decision to only provide written briefings in order to prevent leaks. Democrats say that suspending in-person briefings to Congress will allow Ratcliffe to skirt accountability and avoid follow-up questions.

MacKenzie Scott donates another $2.7 billion to 286 organizations

MacKenzie Scott with her former husband, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, had donated $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations, including community-based nonprofits and organizations focused on racial justice.

Why it matters: It's the next phase of what the New York Times describes as a "highly unconventional approach" to philanthropy from one of the richest women in the world.

Heat wave enveloping West will shatter records, spark wildfires

The sun sets behind power lines in Rosemead, California on June 14, 2021, amid an early season heatwave across much of California this week. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A dangerous and widespread mid-June heat wave is bringing blowtorch-like heat, skyrocketing power demand, and “critical” wildfire danger to much of the West Tuesday through this weekend.

Why it matters: The heat is building in a region that is experiencing a record drought, leading to dangerous fire weather conditions, straining electrical grids, and causing water supplies to dwindle further. The heat itself may prove deadly.