Report: House Republicans claim emails show Fauci knew COVID may have been leaked from Wuhan lab

Fox News reports that Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary panels have just released emails that they believe demonstrate Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), knew early on in the pandemic that the coronavirus “may have been intentionally modified and leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

The letter, authored by Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), was sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra last Tuesday.

“Excerpts of emails we are making public today (see enclosed Appendix I) reveal that Dr. Fauci was warned of two things: (1) the potential that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute Virology (WIV) and (2) the possibility that the virus was intentionally genetically manipulated,” the congressmen wrote.

The letter

Writing Tuesday, Comer and Jordan called attention to a conference call involving Fauci, former National Institutes of Health Director (NIH) Francis Collins, and “at least eleven other scientists” that allegedly took place on Feb. 1, 2020.

“It was on this conference call that Drs. Fauci and Collins were first warned that COVID-19 may have leaked from the WIV and, further, may have been intentionally genetically manipulated,” the letter reads.

“Again, it is unclear if either Dr. Fauci or Dr. Collins ever passed these warnings along to other government officials or if they simply ignored them,” Comer and Jordan said.

The emails

The congressmen went on to say that three days later, four of the participants in the conference call wrote a paper called “The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2” that was sent to Fauci and Collins “for editing and approval” before its publication in Nature Medicine.

“It is unclear what, if any, new evidence was presented or if the underlying science changed in that short period of time, but after speaking with Drs. Fauci and Collins, the authors abandoned their belief COVID-19 was the result of a laboratory leak,” the Republicans wrote. “It is also unclear if Drs. Fauci or Collins edited the paper prior to publication.”

On April 16, 2020, according to the congressmen:

Dr. Collins emailed Dr. Fauci expressing dismay that the Nature Medicine article — which they saw prior to publication and were given the opportunity to edit — did not squash the lab leak hypothesis and asks if the NIH can do more to “put down” the lab leak hypothesis. The next day — after Dr. Collins explicitly asked for more public pressure — Dr. Fauci cited the Nature Medicine paper from the White House podium likely in an effort to further stifle the hypothesis COVID-19 leaked from the WIV.

Comer and Jordan conclude their letter by asking Becerra to provide information on a number of points, including what Fauci and Collins knew about the origins of the coronavirus and what they told or withheld from their superiors.

A look ahead

Fauci, for his part, maintains a belief that COVID-19 originated in animals before being transmitted to humans, though he hasn’t ruled out the lab leak theory entirely.

Still, Republicans are unlikely to make much progress here, with Dems still in charge of Congress and the White House. Only time will tell if things change after November’s elections, giving the GOP the chance to finally get to the truth.

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