New York

GOP launches investigation into COVID-19 origins with letter to Anthony Fauci

WASHINGTON — House Republicans launched an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 on Monday, issuing a series of letters to current and former Biden administration officials seeking documents and testimony.

The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee and subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic has sought information from several people, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, over the hypothesis that the coronavirus accidentally leaked from a Chinese lab.

“This research needs to start with where and how this virus originated so that we can try to predict, prepare for, or prevent a recurrence,” said Ohio, chairman of the virus subcommittee. Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup said in a statement.

Rep. James Comer of Tennessee, chairman of the oversight committee, added that Republicans “stick to the facts” and “hold accountable the high-ranking U.S. government officials who participated in any kind of cover-up.”

The letters to Fauci, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes, Health Secretary Xavier Bessera and others are the latest efforts by the new Republican majority to deliver on promises made during the 2022 midterm campaign.

Wenstrup, also a longtime member of the House Intelligence Committee, has accused U.S. intelligence agencies of withholding important facts about the coronavirus investigation. It issued a staff report claiming there were “indications” that it may have been developed as a bioweapon within the lab.

This would contradict a U.S. intelligence assessment released in unclassified form in August 2021, in which analysts do not believe the virus is a bioweapon, but a laboratory accident. said it may have leaked.

A letter sent on Monday does not require the recipient’s cooperation. But when he released a Republican staff report in December, Wenstrup said lawmakers would issue subpoenas if potential witnesses didn’t cooperate.

After President Joe Biden ordered an investigation into the matter in May 2021, the hypothesis that COVID-19 stemmed from an accidental leak in a laboratory was initially skeptical of most public health experts and It had been dismissed by government officials.

The 90-day review was intended to encourage American intelligence agencies to gather more information and review what they already have.Former State Department under President Donald Trump officials, as well as scientists and the World Health Organization, were publicly pushing for further investigation into the origin of the virus.

Many scientists, including Fauci, who served as Biden’s chief medical adviser until December, still believe the virus most likely emerged in nature and was transmitted from animals to humans. , has not publicly identified significant new scientific evidence that may make the Labourique hypothesis more plausible.

But Republicans accused Fauci of lying to Congress when in May the National Institutes of Health denied funding “gain-of-function” research, a research institute in Wuhan, China. Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz has urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate Fauci’s remarks.

Fauci, who has served as the country’s top infectious disease expert under both Republican and Democratic presidents, called the Republican criticism nonsense.

Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) previously said that an October 2021 letter from the NIH to Congress contradicted Fauci. However, there is no clear evidence or scientific consensus that “gain-of-function” research was funded by the NIH, and there is no link between US-funded research and the emergence of COVID-19. , repeatedly insists that the money is not being spent on research that would increase the pathogen’s infectivity and lethality.

Nonetheless, Fauci said in November that he would “cooperate fully and testify” if Republicans carried out their plans to investigate the origins of COVID.

“I have no problem testifying. Everything we said can be defended and explained,” he told reporters at a White House news conference last year.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. GOP launches investigation into COVID-19 origins with letter to Anthony Fauci

Back to top button