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Marjorie Taylor Greene says Fauci should be jailed and rails against ‘evil science’ at Covid hearing

Dr Fauci, the former head of the NIAID, is facing questions from the GOP-led subcommittee investigating the US’s Covid-19 response and the virus’s origins

Kelly Rissman
Monday 03 June 2024 20:02 BST
Marjorie Taylor Greene verbally berates Anthony Fauci during House Covid-19 hearing

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Louise Thomas

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Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci is facing questions from the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Monday — marking his first Congressional testimony as a non-government official since stepping down in 2022.

Dr Fauci led the US’s response the Covid-19 pandemic, a role that earned him both praise and scrutiny alike. He is expected to face grilling from Congressional Republicans over the origins of the virus as well as transparency around government agency communications and records.

The former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is sitting for his first congressional testimony in almost two years.

The GOP-led subcommittee has requested access to Dr Fauci’s personal email and phone records after obtaining information, which, they say, calls into question whether he may have attempted to conceal some records.

Dr Fauci is appearing voluntarily on Monday. He has said that he has “nothing to hide.”

The divide between the Democrats and Republicans approach to the hearing is striking. One Democrat called this effort a “waste of time” while Republicans have pressed Fauci about conspiracies that have cropped up about the origins of Covid, including the lab leak theory and Fauci’s alleged ‘cover up’.


Hearing kicks off

Dr Fauci sits for his first Congressional testimony in two years — and his first time as a non-government official.

The hearing began at 10am.

Chair Brad Wenstrup is kicking off the meeting, asking “Why did you allow your office to be unaccountable to the American people?”

“Whether intentional or not, you became so powerful, that any disagreements that the public had with you were hidden or censored on social....This is why many Americans became so angry. Because this was fundamentally un-American,” Congressman Wenstrup said.

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:16

Ranking Member Raul Ruiz speaking

Ranking member, Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz, is now speaking. He immediately offered support to Dr Fauci.

After setting the stage, discussing how Dr Fauci has been villified by Republicans, the ranking member said the select subcommittee has not possessed a “shred of evidence” to substantiate these “extreme allegations” against Dr Fauci for the last four years.

He then said, “baselessly suggesting without evidence that these discrete instances of misconduct” are equivalent to public health officials “causing” the pandemic is “also a betrayal of public trust.”

Congressman Ruiz said he hopes Congress can prioritize looking into “solutions to better prepare us for the next pandemic” rather than politicizing certain public health officials.

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:24

Fauci is not a ‘comic book supervillain’: Raskin

Dr Ruiz gave his remaining time to Democratic Rep Jamie Raskin.

“The people who claimed the political big lie....bring you the medical big lie, making the outlandish claim that Dr Fauci was responsible for causing Covid-19.”

Records show Dr Fauci is an “honorable public servant” and not a “comic book supervillain.”

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:28

Republican Rep lays into Fauci as head of NIAID

Republican Rep Morgan Griffith is now speaking.

“It is hard to believe that all of this occurred without your knowledge or approval,” he said, referring to alleged “missing information.”

Research shows “how little oversight NIAID does of risky experiments involving potential pandemic pathogens,” the Republican Congressman added.

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:32

Democrat vs GOP views of the hearing becomes clear

Democrat Kathy Castor said, “This committee has wasted time and taxpayer money fueling conspiracy theoires and ignoring the importance of preparing for the next pandemic.”

“I regret that many of the conspiracies have smeared you, Dr Fauci,” she added.

Her comments echoed those of Ranking Member Ruiz, who also called for his Congressional colleagues to focus on preparing for the next pandemic rather than focusing on political differences.

“It’s not too late for Republicans to join us,” she said.

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:35

Fauci sworn in

Dr Fauci read his written statement.

“Thank you for this opportunity to testify,” he began. He said he has been at the NIH for 54 years and was director of the NIAID for 38 years.

He addressed “certain issues that have been seriously distorted concerning me,” the infectious disease expert continued.

He first mentioned the lab leak theory. “The accusation being circulated that I influenced these scientists to change their minds with millions of dollars in grant money is absolutely false and simply preposterous,” Dr Fauci said.

He then addressed the accusations that he allegedly tried to “cover up” the possibility that the virus originated from a lab.

“The truth is exactly the opposite,” he said matter-of-factly. He then read an email, adding, “It is inconceivable that anvone who reads this e-mail could conclude that I was trying to ‘cover up’ the possibility ofa laboratory leak. To the contrary, it demonstrates that I was advocating for a prompt and thorough examination ofthe data and a totally transparent process.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, takes his seat as he arrives for a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC, June 3, 2024
Dr. Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, takes his seat as he arrives for a House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC, June 3, 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)
Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:43

Subcommittee chair starts off fiery

Chair Brad Wenstrup fires off a series of questions about someone that Dr Fauci said he didn’t know. “Does it concern you that US taxpayer dollars would be going to someone who is a high-ranking PLA official?”

Dr Fauci said he needed to know more information and said he repeated that he didn’t recognize the name of the person who allegedly received the medical grant.

Wenstrup has repeatedly cut off Fauci’s responses to his questions.

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:50

Fauci directly knocks a conspiracy theory

Rep Ruiz said after reviewing nearly half a million pages of documents, listening to witnesses, “they have come up empty handed for evidence of their extreme allegations that Dr Fauci lied about gain-of-function research and caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

He asked Dr Fauci if he was personally involved in the gain-of-function research. He responded that the research was done by experts below him.

“No evidence provided to this select subcommittee demonstrates that the work performed under NIH funding, including at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, led to the creation of Sars-CoV-2,” Ruiz said.

Fauci talked about the “evolution” of a virus. Those studied at the Wuhan Institute are “so far removed from Sars-CoV-2” that it is “molecularly impossible” for those viruses to have been “made into Sars-CoV-2.” It’s a “virological fact.”

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 15:59

Raskin blasts Trump during hearing

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 16:02

Raskin refers to Trump again

Raskin directly asked, “I’m sure you’ve never been accused of starting a disease before. Is that right?” Fauci agreed.

The Democratic Rep then addressed allegations that Fauci tried to “cover up” a lab leak before apologizing on behalf of his GOP colleagues for “dragging his name” through the mud.

“They are treating you like a convicted felon. You probably wish they were treating you like a convicted felon. They treat convicted felons with love and admiration,” Raskin said, referring to former president Donald Trump who was just found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Kelly Rissman3 June 2024 16:09

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