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Press Release Published: Jun 4, 2024

Hearing Wrap Up: Dr. Fauci Held Publicly Accountable by Select Subcommittee

WASHINGTON — The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a hearing titled “A Hearing with Dr. Anthony Fauci.” This hearing is the first time Dr. Fauci has testified publicly since retiring from public service. Earlier this year, Dr. Fauci appeared in front of the Select Subcommittee for a closed-door, two-day, 14-hour transcribed interview where he testified to serious failures in America’s public health system. During Dr. Fauci’s public hearing, he confirmed previous, concerning testimony and refused to take responsibility for the actions of his office. Members questioned Dr. Fauci about his facilitation and promotion of a singular COVID-19 narrative, his clearly misleading statements before Congress and the public, and his gross mismanagement of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Dr. Fauci reaffirmed shocking testimony that the “six feet apart” social distancing recommendation that he promoted was arbitrary, not based on science, and “sort of just appeared.” Conclusively, the Select Subcommittee held Dr. Fauci publicly accountable for pandemic-era failures.

Key Hearing Takeaways

  • Dr. Fauci showed no remorse for the millions of lives affected by his divisive rhetoric and his unscientific policies. He did not apologize to the thousands of Americans who lost their jobs because they refused the novel vaccine, nor did he apologize to children experiencing severe leaning loss as a result of actions he promoted.
  • Dr. Fauci confirmed that his Senior Advisor — Dr. David Morens — violated official NIH policies and potentially broke federal law. Evidence obtained by the Select Subcommittee suggests that Dr. Morens deliberately obstructed the Select Subcommittee’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19, unlawfully deleted federal COVID-19 records, and shared nonpublic information about National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant processes with his “best-friend” EcoHealth Alliance, Inc. (EcoHealth) President Dr. Peter Daszak.
  • Dr. Fauci maintained his misleading claim that the NIH never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China. In 2021, he told Sen. Rand Paul that “the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” During yesterday’s hearing, Dr. Fauci doubled down on his previous claim by stating “the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” Notably, former Acting NIH Director Dr. Lawrence Tabak told the Select Subcommittee recently that the NIH did, in fact, fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
  • Dr. Fauci agreed with the Select Subcommittee that EcoHealth and its president, Dr. Peter Daszak, should never again receive a single cent from the U.S. taxpayer. Two weeks after the Select Subcommittee released evidence of EcoHealth’s contempt for the American people, its flagrant disregard for the risks associated with gain-of-function research, and its willful violation of the terms of its NIH grant, the Department of Health and Human Services commenced formal debarment proceedings against the organization and its president.
  • Dr. Fauci corrected his previous testimony that his staff did not possess conflicts of interest. During his transcribed interview he claimed, “the only people that I am involved with is my own staff, who we’ve mentioned many times in this discussion, who don’t have a conflict of interest.” During yesterday’s hearing, he changed his tune testifying that Dr. Morens “definitely had a conflict of interest.”
  • Dr. Fauci publicly acknowledged that the lab leak hypothesis was possible and not a conspiracy theory. Yesterday, he told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that he falsely claimed that he has kept an “open mind” about the origins of the pandemic. This comes nearly four years after prompting the publication of the now infamous “Proximal Origin” paper that attempted to vilify and disprove the lab leak hypothesis.

Member Highlights

Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), D.P.M, pushed Dr. Fauci to acknowledge that he agreed with every travel restriction issued by the Trump Administration at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Fauci testified during his transcribed interview that he unequivocally agreed with President Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China, the EU, and the UK.

Chairman Wenstrup: “Science is always open to debate, and it’s a benefit. The science supported restricting travel from certain countries at the beginning of the pandemic. And after these orders went into effect, the president was called racist and xenophobic. Dr. Fauci, you said in your transcribed interview that you supported those orders. Dr. Fauci, were those orders racist and xenophobic?

Dr. Fauci: “No, they were not.

Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) confirmed that Dr. Fauci’s Senior Advisor repeatedly violated NIH policies by forwarding official information to his private email account and backchanneling confidential information to disgraced grant recipient EcoHealth. Dr. Fauci was either incompetent as to what was happening directly under his nose at the NIH or he condoned the misconduct.

Chairman Comer: “There’s a troubling pattern of behavior from your inner circle, not just Dr. Morens, but also your chief of staff, Mr. Folkers. Do you agree that it violates NIAID policy to use personal email for official purposes?

Dr. Fauci: “The Dr. Morens issue that was discussed by this committee violates NIH policy. Yes.

Chairman Comer: “Okay. On April 28, 2020, Dr. Morens edited an EcoHealth press release regarding the grant termination. Does that violate policy?

Dr. Fauci: “That was inappropriate for him to be doing that for a grantee, as a conflict of interest, among other things. “

Chairman Comer: “So on March 29, 2021, Dr. Morens edited a letter that Dr. Daszak was sending to NIH. Does that violate policy?

Dr. Fauci: “Yes, it does.”

Chairman Comer: “On October 25th, 2021, Dr. Morens provided Dr. Daszak with advice regarding how to mislead NIH on EcoHealth’s late progress report. Does that violate policy?

Dr. Fauci: “That was wrong and inappropriate and violated policy.”

Chairman Comer: “On December 7th, 2021, Dr. Morens wrote to the Chair of EcoHealth’s Board of Directors to ‘put in a word’ for Dr. Daszak. Does that violate policy?”

Dr. Fauci: “He should not have done that. That was wrong.”

Rep. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.), M.D., held Dr. Fauci accountable for promoting unscientific vaccine mandates from his position of power at the White House. Contrary to what was promised, the COVID-19 vaccine did not stop the spread or transmission of the virus.

Rep. McCormick: “You said in an interview that you gave us part of an audio book, written by Michael Specter, that you believed an institution should make it hard for people to live their lives so they’d feel pressured to get vaccinated. Can we run the audio clip on that, please?

Clip of Dr. Fauci, Summer 2021: “I have to say that I don’t see a big solution, other than some sort of mandatory vaccination. I know federal officials don’t like to use that term. Once people feel empowered and protected legally, you’re going to have schools, universities, and colleges are going to say, ‘you want to come to this college buddy, you’re going to get vaccinated. Lady, you’re going to get vaccinated.’ Yeah, big corporations, like Amazon and Facebook and all of those others, are going to say ‘you want to work for us, you get vaccinated.’ And it’s been proven that when you make it difficult for people in their lives, they lose their ideological bullshit and they get vaccinated.”

Rep. McCormick: “Thank you. Are all objections to COVID vaccinations ideological bullshit, Dr. Fauci?

Dr. Fauci: “No, they’re not. And that’s not what I was referring to.

Rep. McCormick: “Well, in reference to making it hard for people to get education, traveling, working, I’d say it very much was in context. And I take great offense…I think Americans take great offense to this. That’s exactly what you meant when you said ‘making it hard for people to live without getting a vaccination.’ You affected people’s ability to work, travel, be educated, to actually flourish in America, to self-determine, as we’re all given God given rights. Shame on you. Dr. Fauci, you become Dr. Fear. Americans do not hate science. I don’t hate science. The American people hate having their freedoms taken from them. You inspired and created fear through mask mandates, school closures, vaccine mandates that have destroyed the American people’s trust in our public health institutions. This fear you created will continue to have ripple effects over generations to come. You have already seen its effects in education, in the economy, and everything else. Quite frankly, you said if you disagree with me, you disagree with science. Dr. Fauci, I disagree with you because I disagree with fear.”

Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.), M.D., reaffirmed that the “six feet apart” social distancing guidance promoted by Dr. Fauci and his team was not based on science. Dr. Fauci attempted to evade accountability for his part in promoting this harmful narrative by blaming the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Rep. Joyce: “What was your relationship with the CDC when you saw a regulation, which was not based in the current science?

Dr. Fauci: “Well, when I say ‘was not based in science,’ I meant a prospective clinical trial to determine whether six foot was better than three, was better than 10.”

Rep. Joyce: “But once we realized that the virus was not spread by droplets, and was aerosolized, did you feel an indication to go back to the CDC and say, let’s base this on science. Let’s get rid of this six foot rule. This six foot rule crippled businesses, it allowed students to stay at home and not learn. Americans suffered, and that suffering continues because the fracture of trust in American scientists continues to this day.”

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) questioned Dr. Fauci on the Biden Administration’s efforts to censor dissenting information on social media about the origins of COVID-19. Evidence uncovered by the Judiciary Committee suggests that Facebook felt pressure from the Biden Administration to downplay the lab leak theory.

Rep. Jordan: “In our study on the censorship of the Biden Administration working with big tech, I want to read you a WhatsApp message from Mark Zuckerberg: ‘Can we include that the White House put pressure on us to censor the lab leak theory. So, this is a communication on July 16th, 2021, Nick Clegg, Joel Kaplan, Sheryl Sandberg, Mark Zuckerberg. They’re certainly feeling the pressure to downplay any lab leak theory and go with the natural origin theory.”

Dr. Fauci: “Is there a question there?

Rep. Jordan: “There’s one coming. Here’s another email to Mark Zuckerberg. It says ‘subject line COVID Misinformation Wuhan lab leak theory. In response to continued public pressure and tense conversations with the new Administration, we started removing five COVID claims, including the lab leak theory.’ Mr. Zuckerberg responds, ‘This seems like a good reminder that when we compromise our standards due to pressure from an administration, in either direction, we often later regret it.’ Why was it so important the virus not have started in a lab?

Dr. Fauci: “It wasn’t so important that the virus, not, we don’t know.”

Rep. Jordan: “Well it was important to someone in the Biden Administration. So much so that the top people at Meta, the top people at Facebook are asking, ‘why are we getting all this pressure to downplay the lab leak theory?’ And we have an email from June of the same year, June 4th, 2021, saying the same thing. It was certainly important to somebody…I’m asking you because you’re the expert on the coronavirus. I’m saying why was the Administration pushing not to have the lab leak theory as something that was viable?

Dr. Fauci: “I can’t answer that. I’ve kept an open mind throughout the entire…

Rep. Jordan: “You’ve kept an open mind, Dr. Fauci, open mind?

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) confirmed that Dr. Fauci sent taxpayer dollars to dangerous biolabs in Wuhan, China without reading or sufficiently reviewing the grant proposals. Dr. Fauci simply signed off on every grant that was placed on his desk.

Rep. Cloud: “My understanding from your testimony to us, it says that the NIH process for awarding grants is that, basically a research proposal goes to a peer review committee to receive a priority score. Then it goes to an advisory council for NIH personnel. It receives a final vote. Basically, the group votes on it, and then eventually it ends up on your desk for signature. Right? Now, you said in that that sometimes, if I recall correctly, those grants are often approved in block, in mass, when they’re voted on. And then you sign off on them.”

Dr. Fauci: “That’s correct.”

Rep. Cloud: “This is one of the things that’s really troubling to the American people, because they look at their lives being destroyed, and there is no one to hold accountable because these systems of accountability have become systems of plausible deniability. And so your name is on every single grant, but yet, you absolve yourself of any sort of responsibility by saying, ‘well, you know, it goes to this committee that’s you know, that has a number of people on it. And they’re approved in block.’ And so there’s no accountability for anything, any of the taxpayer dollars that are going forth.”

Dr. Fauci: “I disagree with you, Congressman, because if you look at the number of grants, we fund thousands of grants. It would be physically impossible for me to go through every single grant in a detailed way to understand that. That is true, not only for me, but for virtually every institute at the NIH.”

Rep. Cloud: “Then why does your signature go on it?

Dr. Fauci: “Because somebody has to sign off on it and you trust the expertise, and the competence, of the staff that go over it…