High-ranking members of the GOP are demanding answers from Dr. Anthony Fauci after newly released emails suggest he warned fellow health bureaucrats that COVID-19 could have leaked from the Wuhan Insitute of Virology (WIV) and that it might have been “genetically manipulated.”
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Republicans on the congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform and the Committee on the Judiciary are requesting that Fauci testify under oath after emails show he may have intentionally shielded information about COVID’s origins from the Trump White House and the American public.
“It is imperative we investigate if this information was conveyed to the rest of the government and whether this information would have changed the U.S. response to the pandemic,” Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan wrote.
The emails indicate that Fauci, along with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, knew as early as Feb. 1, 2020, that “COVID-19 may have leaked from the WIV and, further, may have been intentionally genetically manipulated.”
“I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to nCoV where you insert exactly 4 amino acids 12 nucleotide that all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function– that and you don’t change any other amino acid in S2? I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature,” one of the scientists noted in an email with Fauci and Collins.
“Again, it is unclear if either Dr. Fauci or Dr. Collins ever passed these warnings along to other government officials or if they simply ignored them,” the letter states.
The 11 scientists on the call when Fauci and Collins first heard of a potential lab leak quickly penned a paper detailing what they believed to be the origins of the virus but, after review by the health bureaucrats, “abandoned their belief COVID-19 was the result of a laboratory leak.”
“Prior to final publication in Nature Medicine, the paper was sent to Dr. Fauci for editing and approval. It is unclear what, if any, new evidence was presented or if the underlying science changed in that short period of time…” the letter notes. “It is also unclear if Drs. Fauci or Collins edited the paper prior to publication.”
The Republican lawmakers also accused Fauci of knowing that the EcoHealth Alliance, which received funding from the U.S. through Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “was not in compliance with its grant reporting, in particular a grant that NIAID knew had gain-of-function potential on novel bat coronaviruses.”
“Dr. Fauci also knew that NIAID worked with EcoHealth to craft a grant policy to sidestep the gain-of-function moratorium at the time,” the letter states. “This new policy, designed by EcoHealth and agreed to by NIAID, allowed EcoHealth to complete dangerous experiments on novel bat coronaviruses — with very little oversight — that would have otherwise been blocked by the moratorium.”
“It is unclear if Dr. Fauci reported any of these issues to his superiors. We need to know the entirety of what Dr. Fauci knew and when he knew it,” the Republicans added.
The congressional leaders said that “rather than be transparent with the Committee, HHS and NIH continue to hide, obfuscate, and shield the truth.”
“By continuing to refuse to cooperate with our request, your agencies are choosing to hide information that will help inform the origins of the ongoing pandemic, prevent future pandemics, respond to future pandemics, inform the United States’ current national security posture, and restore confidence in our public health experts,” the letter concludes. “HHS and NIH’s continued obstruction is likely to cause irreparable harm to the credibility of these
Becerra was given until Jan. 18 to respond to the members’ questions.