Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Fauci testifies in combative hearing about Covid’s origins

By 37ci3 Jun4,2024

In his first public statement since then resigns from the state administration At the end of 2022, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday fended off various attacks from Republican politicians in a fiery hearing called to discuss lessons learned during the pandemic.

Appearing voluntarily before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Fauci denied the wide range of allegations leveled against him in recent years.

Various Republican subcommittee members asked Fauci about funding for virology research from the National Institutes of Health in China, and said he approved. Some conspiracy theories suggest that such research led to the leak of the coronavirus from the laboratory. Fauci also answered questions about whether his staff tried to hide the nature of the investigation from the public.

In his opening statement, Fauci said it was possible the virus escaped from a lab — something he said he personally kept open minded given the pandemic’s origins remain unknown. But he denied that he withheld any relevant information about the potential leak.

“I don’t think the notion that there was a lab leak is essentially a conspiracy theory,” Fauci said. “The conspiracy is the distortions of this particular subject, like there was a lab leak, and I parachuted into the CIA like Jason Bourne and told the CIA that they really shouldn’t be talking about the lab leak. This is a conspiracy.”

The subcommittee presented no evidence linking Fauci to the origin of the coronavirus.

Fauci has emerged as one of the most reviled figures by supporters of former President Donald Trump, with many blaming him for the pandemic based on a wide range of false or misleading claims. Calls for Fauci to be prosecuted for unspecified crimes have become commonplace on the right.

In his testimony Monday, Fauci explained that he participated in a call with dozens of scientists in early 2020 where they discussed the emergence of the virus and the possibility that it originated in a laboratory. Fauci said that after further investigation, members of this group concluded that the virus was transmitted from animals to humans.

“The accusations that I swayed scientists by bribing them with millions of dollars in grant money are completely false and just nonsense,” he said.

Fauci testified about the same topics before the same subcommittee in a closed-door hearing in January.

Before his retirement, Fauci also testified repeatedly before Congress about his leadership during the pandemic. He directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022 and was part of then-President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force as well as President Joe Biden’s Covid response team.

During Monday’s hearing, Democrats defended Fauci as a courageous public servant and accused Republicans of unnecessarily bashing him.

“Some of our colleagues in the United States House of Representatives seem to want to drag your name through the mud. They are treating you, Dr. Fauci, like a convicted felon,” said Maryland State Rep. Jamie Raskin.

But several House colleagues said Fauci belonged in prison and didn’t deserve a medical license, in a moment of battle that sparked confusion from Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. He added that Fauci’s medical leadership had led to “burdening” children with masks in schools and oddly accused him of authorizing beagle torture experiments.

As he left the hearing, Greene doubled down in comments to NBC News.

“Fauci belongs in prison. He should be tried for mass murder and he should be tried for crimes against humanity. That’s how I feel after that hearing,” he said.

Numerous Democrats apologized to Fauci for the insult.

“This may be the most insane hearing I’ve ever been in,” said Rep. Robert Garcia of California. “I’ve only been in Congress for a year and a half, but I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through something like this. attacks and level of insanity’.

The Republican-led House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic has been investigating the origins of the coronavirus for months, focusing on the possibility of a lab leak, as well as mask and vaccine mandates.

Much of Monday’s hearing focused on the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit research group that receives U.S. government funding for pandemic prevention. Department of Health and Human Services in May funding is suspended to the organization after concluding that the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China did not adequately monitor the research he was involved in and did not turn in required materials and submit progress reports on time.

Ohio Republican Brad Wenstrup, who is chairman of the House subcommittee, said Monday that Fauci’s administration allowed Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, to use millions of taxpayer dollars in Wuhan to conduct risky experiments on modifying a coronavirus.

Subcommittee members claimed that the EcoHealth Alliance facilitated the study of the so-called function gain, which means that the virus is strengthened for further transmission. But the EcoHealth Alliance said his work did not meet the definition of such research.

Republicans have also questioned Fauci’s relationship with one of his former aides, David Morens, who used his personal email accounts to correspond with his friend Daszak. Subcommittee members said some of Morens’ emails provided evidence that he tried to violate public records laws.

Fauci said Morens violated NIAID policy and “as far as we know now,” Morens’ relationship with Daszak was a conflict of interest.

But Fauci added that he never conducted official business using his personal email.

He also emphasized that none of the viruses studied with funding from the National Institutes of Health could have evolved into SARS-CoV-2.

Cameron Hickey, CEO of the National Conference on Citizenship, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening U.S. democracy, said Fauci has been a central focus of extreme conspiracy theories circulating online since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Anti-vaccine activists see Anthony Fauci as a leader in the effort to spread lies about the origins of the pandemic, a vaccine profiteer and a power-hungry part of the ‘swamp’ that perpetuates the unnecessary public. health measures such as masking, isolation and social distancing,” Hickey said in an email.

Fauci said Monday that he and his family continue to be haunted.

“There were credible death threats that led to the arrest of two individuals, and credible death threats mean someone who was clearly out to kill me. And I am required to have protective services at all times. It hurts me a lot. “It’s even more painful because they’re bringing my wife and three daughters into this,” Fauci said, his voice choking.

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By 37ci3

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