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Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, confers with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, at the start of a hearing to examine problems and practices of issuing security clearances to government employees, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Donald Trump Richard Burr Susan Collins Thursday, Mar 19 2020

Devastating Audio of Sen. Burr’s Coronavirus Warning Raises Questions About What Susan Collins Knew and When Did She Know It

Mar 19, 2020

This morning, NPR obtained devastating audio of Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr telling an elite group of business people in a private meeting that the coronavirus was far worse than people realized. Burr said, “it is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything we have seen in recent history. It’s probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”

While Burr was warning this private group of business people about the coronavirus, Republicans, led by Donald Trump, failed to warn the public about the virus’s dangers, repeatedly downplaying it as a “hoax” and “less dangerous than the flu.” Burr’s comments call into question what he and his Republican colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee like Susan Collins knew. Collins surely had the same information that Burr had, raising serious questions about why neither of them warned their constituents earlier.

“While Democrats have been warning about the dangers of this virus and the lack of preparedness by the Administration, Republicans like Richard Burr and Susan Collins remained silent as Donald Trump endangered Americans by downplaying coronavirus as a ‘hoax,’” said American Bridge spokesperson Zach Hudson. “Senators Burr and Collins need to come clean to the American people about what they knew and when they knew it. They also owe their constituents an explanation as to why they are more concerned about not angering Donald Trump than the health and safety of millions of Americans.” 

Published: Mar 19, 2020 | Last Modified: May 27, 2020

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