Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has been tapped to serve as the acting chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee.
The Florida lawmaker was named by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday to replace Richard Burr of North Carolina, who is under investigation over allegations that he used advance information to sell millions of dollars of stocks in February, weeks before the coronavirus pandemic caused a meltdown of global financial markets. Burr stepped down from his post last week after FBI agents seized his cellphone as part of its probe.
Rubio has spent much of his Senate career focusing on foreign policy as a member of both the Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees. In a statement announcing his appointment, McConnell praised Rubio for his concern “for our nation’s security, advocacy for our values and interests, and vigilance toward threats.”
“On subjects ranging from China and Russia to Iran and North Korea to tyranny and unrest in our own hemisphere, Senator Rubio has been on the case for years,” McConnell said.
Rubio’s elevation to the post makes him one of the so-called “Gang of Eight,” composed of the top leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate and the chairs of the Intelligence committees of both chambers who receive the most sensitive classified briefings.
Rubio, who ran for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, also currently serves as chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneur Committee, which has played a leading role in legislation aimed at helping American businesses recover from the pandemic.