Key House investigator fears feds used grants as hush money to keep COVID origins quiet

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said, "Everyone in the medical community backed up Dr. Fauci, and what we now know is they were receiving a lot of grant dollars."

Updated: November 14, 2022 - 11:01pm

The top Republican House investigator says his team has uncovered evidence suggesting federal health officials used grant dollars to keep private scientists on script and have them deny COVID-19 originated with a lab accident despite scientific evidence to the contrary. 

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the likely chairman of the House Oversight Committee if the GOP wins control of the House, told Just the News on Monday night that his investigators have evidence showing that even though Dr. Anthony Fauci was warned the virus likely originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China, he constructed, with the aid of federally funded private scientists, a counternarrative that COVID-19 evolved naturally from animals.

"Everyone in the medical community backed up Dr. Fauci, and what we now know is they were receiving a lot of grant dollars," Comer said Monday during a wide-ranging interview on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show.

Comer said his investigators have obtained documents showing that on Feb. 1, 2020 Fauci and his boss, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, and at least eleven other scientists convened a conference call to discuss COVID-19. On that call, Fauci and Collins were first warned that COVID-19 may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and may have been intentionally genetically manipulated.

Four days earlier, Comer said, Fauci was alerted that his own National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had funded an American research firm known as EcoHealth Alliance, that the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China was a subgrantee of EcoHealth, and EcoHealth was not in compliance with its grant reporting, in particular a grant that NIAID knew had gain-of-function potential on novel bat coronaviruses.

"We uncovered the emails that showed Dr. Fauci's earliest advisers said that this is obviously a lab leak, and this has to be man-made," the Kentucky Republican added. "We also showed where Dr. Fauci and Dr. Collins at the NIH were talking about trying to spin the lab leak theory, that they were really concerned about the optics of that. What we learned is how much slush money the NIH had to award in the form of grants to these advisers."

Comer said he fears the complicity of the private scientists helped Fauci seize a narrative to justify massive health lockdowns and thwart an earlier investigation of what role a U.S.-funded lab in Wuhan, China played in the pandemic.

"So you have someone like Dr. Fauci that had complete control over the entire pandemic," he said. "And his advisers and all these medical experts were signing on to everything, essentially giving him a blank check to say whatever he wanted to say, to shut down whatever industry he wanted to shut down, to make our kids have to go virtual instead of in person. And the whole time they were receiving grants from Dr. Collins and Dr. Fauci."

NIH did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night. Fauci long shut down the possibility of a lab leak, but U.S. intelligence has since said a lab accident is a likely source of the virus. And Fauci recently told Congress he's keeping an open mind that he was wrong.

Comer laid out a wide-ranging investigative agenda for the committee if he becomes chairman, saying he was committed to finding way to end the waste of tax dollars, especially in the areas of research science and COVID relief aid, which some estimates show may have lost $400 billion to fraud and waste.

"In the name of COVID, Congress has lost its mind over the past three years," he said. "The trillions of dollars that have been wasted is mind-boggling."

Comer said his committee would be empowered under GOP rules so that he, as chairman, could unilaterally issue subpoenas to compel documents and testimony without having to get a committee vote, where Democrats and recalcitrant Republicans could block investigations.

"I don't have to get permission from anyone to issue a subpoena," he explained. "I take that responsibility greatly. I'm not going to abuse that, because I think it's been abused in the past. But we are going to get some accountability for the taxpayers and the American people in this administration. We're going to do it on day one in January."

Comer said subpoenas would be issued to President Joe Biden's son Hunter and brother James if they don't comply with requests for documents and testimony.

"What I don't think most Americans realize is how much corruption we have in this administration," he said. "People know that Hunter Biden is a shady business character. But they don't realize the direct benefits Joe Biden was receiving. And the potential of compromise that this White House has."

He added it is essential for future pandemics to get to the bottom of how federal health officials deceived the American public on COVID's origins and some of the outcomes of early treatments of the virus.

"This whole business model for how we treat a future pandemic and how we treat viruses and diseases in America, it's going to have to change," Comer declared.