House Republicans say emails reveal Dr. Anthony Fauci was warned of the possibility COVID-19 was leaked from a Wuhan, China, lab and of the possibility that the virus was intentionally genetically manipulated.
"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," the GOP lawmakers said in a letter to Xavier Becerra, Health and Human Services secretary.
"We write to request a transcribed interview of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases [NIAID].
And the letter also notes: "Despite Dr. Fauci claiming otherwise on multiple occasions, he was, in fact, aware of the monetary relationship between NIAID, the U.S. National Institutes of Health [NIH], EcoHealth Alliance Inc. [EcoHealth], and the WIV by January 27, 2020.
"Dr. Fauci also knew that NIAID worked with EcoHealth to craft a grant policy to sidestep the gain-of-function moratorium at the time. 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."
The letter was signed by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the ranking member on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.
In a Feb. 2, 2020 email from Dr. Francis Collins to Fauci and others, the then director of the National Institutes of Health, wrote: "I share your view that a swift convening of experts in a confidence inspiring framework (WHO seems really the only option) is needed, or the voices of conspiracy will quickly dominate, doing great potential harm to science and international harmony."
He wrote: "The biggest hindrance at the moment (for this and more generally) is the lack of data and information. There have been no genome sequences from Wuhan for cases more recent than the 6 beginning of January and reports, but no information, about virus from non-human animals in Wuhan. If the evolutionary origins of the epidemic were to be discussed, I think the only people with sufficient information or access to samples to address it would be the teams working in Wuhan."
Specifically, the lawmakers wrote that they want to know:
- "Did Drs. Fauci or Collins warn anyone at the White House about the potential COVID-19 originated in a lab and could be intentionally genetically manipulated?"
- "If these concerns were not shared, why was the decision to keep them quiet made?"
- "By February 1, 2020, were Drs. Fauci or Collins aware of the State Department’s warnings about WIV safety?"
- "Would this warning have changed the early response to the COVID-19 pandemic?""
The Republican lawmakers say the emails were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and are redacted in parts.
"We call on you to immediately lift these redactions and produce the email communications to Congress," they wrote. "Further, considering the import of the above questions, we request Dr. Anthony Fauci be made immediately available to sit for a transcribed interview. Please respond by January 18, 2022 to confirm."
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