House Republicans kicked off an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 by asking former chief White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and other Biden administration officials to testify before Congress.
GOP members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Committee on Oversight and Accountability on Monday sent a letter to Fauci requesting a transcribed interview.
“The American people deserve real answers after years of suffering through the Coronavirus pandemic and related government policies. This investigation must begin with where and how this virus came about so that we can attempt to predict, prepare or prevent it from happening again,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of the virus subcommittee, said in a statement on Monday.
“Government scientists and government-funded researchers have so far been less-than-forthcoming in their knowledge and actions, including work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and potential pandemic pathogens. We can’t accept more years of stonewalling,” he added.
Wenstrup has accused U.S. intelligence of withholding critical information about its investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Republicans on the committee last year issued a report with concerns the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have been developed as a bioweapon inside China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the oversight committee, said the GOP will “follow the facts” and “hold U.S. government officials that took part in any sort of cover-up accountable.”
“We know EcoHealth Alliance acted as a middleman, improperly funneling thousands of taxpayer dollars to the Wuhan lab to conduct risky gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses which could have started the pandemic,” Comer said. “Dr. Fauci was alerted early on that COVID-19 had markings of a manipulated virus yet may have chosen to cover it up instead of blowing the whistle.”
Republicans have accused Fauci of lying to Congress when he previously denied that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded gain-of-function (GOF) research at the Wuhan virology lab.
Fauci said previously he would comply with any oversight investigation initiated by the now Republican-led House.
“If there are oversight hearings, I absolutely will cooperate fully and testify before the Congress,” Fauci said during his final White House briefing. “I have no trouble testifying — we can defend and explain everything that we’ve said.”
Letters were also sent to National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, Health Secretary Xavier Beccera, President of Eco Health Alliance Dr. Peter Daszak and former National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins.
Although recipients of the letters are not required to testify, the committee could issue subpoenas if witnesses fail to cooperate.
Fauci and other government officials have been adamant the virus most likely emerged in nature and jumped from humans to animals, but emails disclosed via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal that Fauci suspected the virus came from a lab and he, along with other scientists who suspected the same, sought to cover it up. With the help of corporate media and Big Tech companies, discussion of the lab leak theory and articles written by prominent experts who promoted it were censored to reinforce the government’s narrative.
The NIH has also denied funding GOF research that would make a coronavirus more dangerous to humans after it was accused of doing so following the release of its research proposals.
Richard Ebright, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University and laboratory director at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology, said the documents obtained via FOIA “make it clear that assertions by the NIH director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement in Wuhan are untruthful.”
“Multiple sections of the grant proposals and grant progress reports make it clear
that the grants funded gain-of-function research of concern in Wuhan,” Ebright said.
According to a statement released by the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, the Committee’s investigation has already uncovered three key facts:
“Growing evidence shows COVID-19 likely originated from the Wuhan Lab and the Chinese Communist Party covered it up; U.S. taxpayer dollars were being funneled to the Wuhan Lab to conduct risky gain-of-function research on novel bat coronaviruses and Dr. Fauci was aware of this information at the start of the pandemic and may have acted to conceal the information by intentionally downplaying the lab leak theory.”