News

House COVID origins panel accuses Fauci adviser of obstructing probe, subpoenas him for public testimony

A House committee investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic accused the onetime high adviser to Dr. Anthony Fauci of obstructing their probe — and subpoenaed him a 3rd time, now to pressure him to testify earlier than his ex-boss.

The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic issued the subpoena to Dr. David Morens on Wednesday, demanding his look at a May 22 listening to.

Morens nonetheless serves as a senior scientific adviser to the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which Fauci helmed from 1984 to 2022.

April 20, 2024, email from Dr. Peter Daszak to Drs. Gerald Keusch and Peter Hotez
“David’s lawyers are trying to negotiate and delay his til after Tony,” Daszak wrote in an April 20 e-mail launched by the COVID panel. MSNBC
Dr. David Morens
The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic issued the subpoena to Dr. David Morens on Wednesday, demanding his look at a May 22 listening to. MSNBC

In a canopy letter, subcommittee chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) accused the NIAID senior adviser of “intentionally employing dilatory tactics in order to unreasonably stall” his scheduled testimony till after Fauci’s listening to, presently scheduled for June 3.

“This appears to be a poorly veiled attempt to protect Dr. Fauci, insulate him from the actions the Select Subcommittee is investigating, and obstruct the Select Subcommittee’s investigation,” Wenstrup wrote within the letter.

“Accordingly, your actions have left us no choice but to compel your testimony.”

Emails obtained by the subcommittee, Wenstrup (R-Ohio) mentioned, present the stalling ways mentioned by EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak, whose group used federal grants to conduct dangerous gain-of-function analysis.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.
“This appears to be a poorly veiled attempt to protect Dr. Fauci, insulate him from the actions the Select Subcommittee is investigating,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup wrote in a Wednesday letter. CQ-Roll Call, Inc through Getty Images

“Each day of delay helps. They’re trying to book David in for a public hearing between mine (May 1st) and Fauci’s (June 3rd),” Daszak wrote in an April 20 e-mail launched by the COVID panel. “David’s lawyers are trying to negotiate and delay his til after Tony.”

Morens’ counsel instructed subcommittee employees members two days after the e-mail that his consumer was “unavailable” — and supplied 4 different proposed dates for a listening to, three of which have been when Congress was scheduled to be out of session.

The e-mail begins with a phrase of because of Dr. Gerald Keusch, an affiliate director of Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory Institute, who the subcommittee sought information from final month.

Dr. Peter Hotez at his Baylor office in Houston on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021.
Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine and well-known contributor on CNN broadcasts in the course of the pandemic, was additionally included on the e-mail chain. Houston Chronicle through Getty Images

Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine and well-known contributor on CNN broadcasts in the course of the pandemic, was additionally included within the e-mail chain.

The subcommittee has already issued two subpoenas for Morens’ e-mail information after discovering that he used his personal account to evade Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, doubtlessly violating federal record-keeping legal guidelines.

He was positioned on administrative depart by the NIH final 12 months after Wenstrup drew consideration to the alleged violations. In January, the subcommittee interviewed him and later expressed considerations about his testimony relating to the potential deletion of COVID origins information.

Peter Daszak (R), Thea Fischer (L) and other members of the World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 coronavirus, arrive at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on February 3, 2021.
Morens communicated privately with Daszak to attempt to reinstate funding for an NIH grant to experiment on bat coronaviruses on the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), pictured above. AFP through Getty Images

Morens communicated privately with Daszak to attempt to reinstate funding for an NIH grant to experiment on bat coronaviruses on the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), situated within the Chinese metropolis the place the COVID-19 pandemic started greater than 4 years in the past.

EcoHealth has acquired greater than $4 million from the NIH for a undertaking titled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence,” which had its funding reduce off in April 2020 however was reinstated in May 2023.

None of the work continues to be being finished in China, however $1.4 million in US taxpayers’ cash flowed to the WIV between 2014 and 2021 for the analysis on SARS coronaviruses.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a House Committee on Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing, May 11, 2022, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In one of the emails, Morens confirms that NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci was in “damage control” mode after EcoHealth’s NIH grant was suspended in 2020. AP
EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak speaks during a House Select Subcommittee hearing on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Capitol Hill on May 1, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Peter Daszak and EcoHealth have repeatedly denied that the NIH-funded experiments in Wuhan concerned gain-of-function analysis. Getty Images

Emails launched by EcoHealth final month in response to The Post’s request for comment confirmed that Morens “recklessly provided Dr. Daszak with access to non-public information and offered insight into internal conversations at NIAID,” in keeping with the subcommittee.

In one of the emails, Morens confirms that Fauci was in “damage control” mode after EcoHealth’s NIH grant was suspended in 2020.

In a May 2021 Senate listening to, Fauci repeatedly denied that NIH grants had funded gain-of-function analysis at WIV.

Another e-mail uncovered by the subcommittee additionally revealed Morens sharing “confidential” data from the NIH about how Fauci was getting ready to answer accusations that the Wuhan analysis lab used substandard biosafety ranges.

Republicans and Democrats grilled Daszak at a listening to final week after having beneficial the Justice Department criminally examine him for having given doubtlessly false testimony to the subcommittee — and debar EcoHealth from receiving any future federal grants.

Daszak and EcoHealth have repeatedly denied that the NIH-funded experiments in Wuhan concerned gain-of-function analysis.

The Post has reached out to NIAID and EcoHealth for remark.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button