Dr. Anthony Fauci is being kept out of the loop as House Republicans push ahead on their probe into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic — and he’s not the only one.
The longtime National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director and top White House adviser on the coronavirus pandemic was not present Tuesday as Republicans in the House held a hearing on the origins of the disease, the New York Post reported.
Frustrated that House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA), had made little progress in determining where COVID-19 came from, Republicans on a select subcommittee moved ahead with their hearing without Dems, the Post said Tuesday. But “[w]ithout bipartisan support, the subcommittee does not have subpoena power,” The Washington Times notes.
Not facing order to do so, Fauci apparently opted not to attend.
“Refused to allow a single hearing”
The hearing was reportedly led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a Lousiana Republican who said his party has been asking Dems “for more than a year” to open an investigation into what started the global pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 in the U.S. alone.
“Perplexingly, Speaker Pelosi has refused to allow a single hearing — calling it a ‘diversion,’” Scalise charged Tuesday, according to the Post. “As the American people will hear today from our expert witnesses, this is far from a diversion.”
Among the witnesses who did appear before the subcommittee Tuesday was Dr. Brett Giroir, who the Times described as “a former Health and Human Services official who oversaw the COVID-19 testing program under the Trump administration.”
His testimony reportedly lent credence to recently revived claims that the virus may have originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, rather than naturally in a so-called wet market, as is the pervasive theory.
“Although we do not yet have indisputable evidence pinpointing the exact origin of the virus that causes COVID-19, I assess that the most likely origin was an accidental infection of laboratory personnel from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, with secondary transmission to the local population and subsequent spread to hundreds of millions of people around the world,” Giroir said Tuesday, according to the Post.
“What are they trying to hide?”
According to the Times, the doctor also called on Congress to lead the way on “a comprehensive, transparent, and unbiased investigation to determine one, the most likely origin of the virus; two, whether the [National Institutes of Health] funded directly or indirectly, or approved of explicitly or tacitly potentially dangerous research within the Wuhan lab; and three, what the U.S. can do to minimize the possibility of future pandemics and enable rapid global containment of any suspicious infectious outbreak.”
It’s a call that was echoed by Scalise, who urged Pelosi to “immediately take up the bill already passed by unanimous consent in the Senate that declassifies all intelligence related to the origins of COVID,” as the Post reported.
“The very name of our committee is the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus, yet Speaker Pelosi refuses to have a hearing on the origin of, you guessed it, the coronavirus,” Scalise said, according to the Post. “What are they trying to hide?”