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Tucker Carlson rejects Sen. Loeffler spin on dumping stock in blunt tense exchange

(Fox News video screenshots)

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Speaking Friday evening on Fox News, Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican, tried to excuse her alleged coronavirus-related insider trading by claiming that her stock portfolio is managed by financial advisers who operate independent of her.

“That would be the financial advisers that are charged with conducting trades in our portfolios, which we don’t have a say over,” she said when asked by host Tucker Carlson to identify “who specifically” was responsible for selling over $1 million in stocks after she attended a Senate Health Committee coronavirus briefing in January.

“The most important thing is that I’m informed only after those trades are made. I have nothing in terms of a say in what buys and sells are executed, what that timing is, and I’m only advised after it happens, almost concurrent with the public reporting that we do here.”

Listen to part one of her heated discussion with Carlson below, via FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):


(Source: Fox News)

Right off the bat, there were a couple of problems with her claims. First, her stock selloffs began on the exact same day as the Senate coronavirus briefing …

“That same day, she and her husband made the first of dozens of stock sales executed between then and February 14, worth up to $3.1 million,” the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington revealed in a complaint filed this week.

“She also purchased several stocks during this period, including Citrix, which produces teleworking software and could have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.”

Second, Carlson noted that not long after the senator received the briefing and inexplicably began selling stocks, she issued a public statement claiming the economy was strong, despite seemingly knowing at the time that the economy would soon be facing one of the most dire tests in American history.

Watch:

The Senator had an excuse for this as well.

“This situation has dramatically changed in the space of three months,” she said. “I think none of us could have predicted where we would be today, and I think that’s why it’s important that I’m not involved in stock transactions. I don’t want to have to explain my actions three months ago.”

“No, no, no!” Carlson immediately interjected. “I’m sorry. With respect, this wasn’t three months ago. This was a month ago on February 16th or 17th when you received this sheet. Did it trip any bells for you? I mean, you can read a balance sheet, obviously. That’s what you did all your life until recently.”

Fact-check: TRUE.

Prior to assuming office just this past January, Loeffler had spent most of her adult life working in the investments and finance field.

Case in point:

“This is the kind of normal course for managing portfolios,” the senator replied. “Some months you have buys and sells. Some months you have buys. Some months you have sells. I trust the professionals that manage our portfolio.”

“I don’t get involved there. I don’t have a say. I don’t want to have a focus. I want to focus on my work for Georgians. We should be talking about coronavirus right now.”

Sure, Carlson replied, but …

I’m just wondering about the broader question of assuring the public that the economy’s fine and coronavirus can be managed when of course, given your position, you know that’s not true,” he said.

Listen to the rest of the heated confrontation below:

The discussion eventually turned to Loeffler’s colleague, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, who’d “compared the coronavirus outbreak to the 1918 flu pandemic at an exclusive Feb. 27 luncheon after dumping between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings,” according to the Washington Examiner.

The difference is that the North Carolina senator has admitted to having made these sales himself. Based on this, Carlson asked Loeffler whether Burr should be indicted for his actions.

“Look, Tucker, I’ve been in the Senate 11 weeks,” she said. “I spent a lot of time in advance getting my own situation set before I came to the Senate. I didn’t advise my colleagues on how they manage their financial situations.”

“I don’t know what his situation is. I can’t speak for him, and I won’t speak for him. I think he’s been very forthcoming in terms of saying he’s willing to step in front of the Senate Ethics Committee, and I applaud that.”

But the FNC host never asked her to speak for Burr. He just asked whether he ought to be indicted.

“I’m not asking for you to give him financial advice, obviously, or to tell him what to do next. I’m just wondering what you think should happen next,” he noted.

“Do you think that, given what we know — he has conceded that he made these trades himself at exactly the same time that he was assuring the public everything was fine — he lied — and you believe that going before the Senate Ethics Committee … you think that’s an adequate response?”

Apparently she does, and the reason might be because she’s just as guilty as Burr and realizes therefore that if she condemns him, she’ll have no other choice but to condemn herself as well …

Vivek Saxena

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