GOP is asking Fauci to testify as it probes the origins of the Covid pandemic
House Republicans have named former White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony, asked to testify before Congress as they launch a new investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.
GOP leaders on the select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic and the committee on oversight and accountability sent Fauci a letter Monday asking for a transcribed interview. Fauci said in November that he would cooperate with any oversight hearing in the Republican-led House of Representatives.
“If there are oversight hearings, I will definitely cooperate fully and testify before Congress,” Fauci told reporters during his recent White House briefing. “I have no problem testifying – we can defend and explain everything we said.”
Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts, was the public face of the US pandemic response during the Trump and Biden administrations. He resigned from his posts in the White House and as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December.
House Republicans also sent letters accusing EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak, and former director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, asked for testimony. The EcoHealth Alliance provided funding, sourced from the NIH, to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study coronaviruses.
According to a report released last month, the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general found that the EcoHealth Alliance received approximately $8 million in funding from the NIH from 2014 to 2021. About $600,000 of that money went directly to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the bat coronavirus threat.
The study of bat coronaviruses at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, the city where the pandemic first began, has raised suspicions among some scientists and investigators that Covid-19 may have escaped from a laboratory. But Fauci, Collins and many others have claimed that a natural origin, in which the virus jumped from bats to humans via an intermediate animal, is more likely.
“The abundant evidence from other perspectives says no, this was a naturally occurring virus,” Collins told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in 2021. “Not to say it couldn’t have been secretly studied at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and got out from there, we don’t know anything about that. But the virus itself does not have the hallmarks of being intentionally created by human labor.”
In 2021, President Joe Biden ordered US intelligence agencies to come up with their analysis on the start of the pandemic. Four agencies assessed with low confidence that the pandemic started from natural exposure, while one assumed it was the result of a laboratory accident. Three other agencies could not agree on either explanation.
House Republicans also on Monday sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines requesting classified briefings with seven intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
They also sent a letter to Health Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting interviews with more than two dozen US health officials.
Republicans, who narrowly won control of the House in last November’s midterm elections, had promised to launch multiple inquiries into the origins of the pandemic, the federal response and the use of taxpayer money.
“This investigation must begin with where and how this virus originated so that we can attempt to predict, prepare for, or prevent a recurrence,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chair of the select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic a statement.