GOP asks Fauci to testify in probe into origins of COVID pandemic

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House Republicans have asked former White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony to testify before Congress as they launch a new investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GOP leaders on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and the Oversight and Accountability Committee sent a letter to Fauci on Monday requesting a written interview. Fauci said in November that he would cooperate with any oversight hearings in the Republican-led House.

“If there is an oversight hearing, I will cooperate fully and testify before Congress,” Fauci told reporters during his final briefing at the White House. “I have no problem testifying – we can defend and explain everything we’ve said.”

Fauci, one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts, was the public face of the US pandemic response during the Trump and Biden administrations. He resigned from the White House and the top post at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December.

House Republicans also sent letters requesting testimony from EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak and former National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins. EcoHealth Alliance provided funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which originated at the NIH, to study coronaviruses.

According to a report published last month, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services found that EcoHealth Alliance received nearly $8 million in NIH funding from 2014 to 2021. About $600,000 of that money went directly to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study the threat posed by bat coronaviruses.

Studies of bat coronaviruses at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, the city where the pandemic first began, have raised doubts among some scientists and investigators that Covid-19 could have escaped from a laboratory. But Fauci, Collins and many others maintain that a natural origin in which the virus spread from bats to people via an intermediate animal is more likely.

“The overwhelming evidence from other perspectives says no, it was a naturally occurring virus,” Collins told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in 2021. About there, we do not know about it. But viruses have no signs of being intentionally made by human labor.”

In 2021, President Joe Biden ordered US intelligence agencies to provide their analysis on how the pandemic began. Four agencies assessed with low confidence that the pandemic began through natural exposure, while one assessed that it was the result of a laboratory accident. The three other agencies could not agree on any explanation.

House Republicans also sent a letter Monday to National Intelligence Director Avril Haines requesting classified briefings with seven intelligence and law enforcement agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He also sent a letter to Health Secretary Javier Becerra, requesting interviews with more than two dozen US health officials.

Republicans, who won control of the House with a narrow margin in last November’s midterms, have vowed to launch multiple investigations into the origins of the pandemic, the federal response and how taxpayer money was spent.

“The investigation must begin with where and how this virus came about so that we can try to predict, prepare for, or prevent it from happening again,” Rep. said Brad Weinstrup, R-Ohio, chairman of the select subcommittee on the coronavirus pandemic. a statement.

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