Roadmap for House Republicans' new COVID-19 investigation leads straight to Dr. Fauci
Fauci was "alerted early on that COVID-19 had markings of a manipulated virus yet may have chosen to cover it up instead of blowing the whistle," said House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer.
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House Republicans are launching their investigation into the origins of COVID-19 with demands for interviews and documents and a promise to exhaust all means to determine whether the U.S. government hid information from the American public on how the pandemic started and whether the federal response was mismanaged.
And their roadmap — made public Monday — clearly leads to the man who quarterbacked the nation's strategy: Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Fauci was "alerted early on that COVID-19 had markings of a manipulated virus yet may have chosen to cover it up instead of blowing the whistle," House Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) declared as he unveiled the subcommittee that will investigate the pandemic's origins and response and released its first demands for evidence.
"We will continue to follow the facts to determine what could have been done differently to better protect Americans from this virus and hold U.S. government officials that took part in any sort of cover up accountable," Comer promised.
Comer reiterated his concerns that COVID-19 originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China and not from a wet market as some scientists like Fauci long claimed. The Kentucky Republican also said he wants to determine whether "gain of function" research — in which dangerous viruses are enhanced to study them — may have been conducted with U.S. funding at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Though Fauci has argued COVID-19 evolved naturally, the U.S. intelligence community said there is also evidence that it was released from a lab leak. Fauci has battled with Republicans but also made clear late last year he'd be willing to testify anew in a GOP-led inquiry.
Comer's investigators sent letters Monday to Fauci, who recently retired as the government's infectious disease chief as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); Peter Daszak, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, the nonprofit that used an NIH grant to fund bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology; Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines; and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra.
“Evidence continues to mount pointing to the virus leaking from an unsecure lab in Wuhan," Comer said. "We know EcoHealth Alliance acted as a middleman, improperly funneling thousands of taxpayer dollars to the Wuhan lab to conduct risky gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses which could have started the pandemic."
The release announcing the subcommittee's formation included hyperlinks to letters previously sent by "Oversight Committee Republicans" from the last Congress to officials at the Department of Health and Human Services, NIH, and HHS.
The latest letter to Fauci requested a transcribed interview, while Haines was asked for information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies related to China and COVID-19.
Becerra was asked for official records and communications with top health officials, while the letter to Daszak sought records related to the Wuhan lab and "any other Chinese entity" engaged in similar COVID research that also communicated with EcoHealth Alliance.
House lawmakers appear to be homing in on suspicions that top public health officials at NIH were aware of concerns that the virus had been engineered, yet acted deliberately to conceal those concerns as the virus was spreading worldwide.
Comer accused the Chinese Communist Party of orchestrating its own coverup, one allegedly aided by American officials.
"U.S. taxpayer dollars were being funneled to the Wuhan Lab to conduct risky gain-of-function research on novel bat coronaviruses; and Dr. Fauci was aware of this information at the start of the pandemic and may have acted to conceal the information by intentionally downplaying the lab leak theory," he charged.
Just The News reached out to NIAID seeking comment from Fauci, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence seeking comment from Haines, HHS for a statement from Becerra and EcoHealth Alliance seeking comment from Daszak. Only NIH replied, however, to say Fauci is no longer a federal employee so the questions posed could not be answered. NIH did not respond to a followup request to provide updated contact info for Fauci.
You can follow Nick on Twitter @NGivasDC
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