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Investigation launched into Trump’s 'political interference' in CDC and FDA's coronavirus work

Probe to be carried out by Government Accountability Office

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Monday 19 October 2020 22:23 BST
Trump falsely claims 85% of mask wearers catch covid
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Donald Trump’s “political interference” with the coronavirus work of the CDC and FDA will be investigated by a government watchdog.

The Government Accountability Office will probe whether the White House’s alleged interference during the pandemic “has violated the agencies’ scientific integrity and communication policies.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren was joined by Senator Gary Peters and Senator Patty Murray  in writing to the GAO to demand the review earlier this month.

The GAO is often called the “congressional watchdog” and is a non-partisan government agency that provides auditing and investigation services for the United States Congress.

“The CDC and FDA’s independence as scientific agencies is crucial to safeguarding the public health and saving lives,” the Democratic politicians wrote in their request.

“These agencies must be able to develop, review, and disseminate public health data, guidelines, and other information that are based on science, facts, and medical principles—and not the political imperatives and moods of a president and his advisors.”

Trump administration officials have reportedly pressured the CDC scientists to change, delay or even remove virus recommendations.

The White House has also been accused of trying to prevent the FDA from installing strict guidelines about the manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines.

The GAO investigation could reportedly take up to three months."The GAO's decision to conduct an independent audit is a good first step towards making sure that guidance coming from federal agencies is based on science and facts, not on the Trump Administration's political agenda or the President's whims," the senators said in a statement.

Last week more than 1,000 current and former staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hit out at Mr Trump’s handling of the coronavirus response.

The letter expressed dismay at the White House’s handling of the pandemic and called for the CDC to play a bigger role in fighting Covid-19.

“The absence of national leadership on Covid-19 is unprecedented and dangerous,” read the letter signed by current and former disease investigators for the agency’s Epidemic Intelligence Service.

“CDC should be at the forefront of a successful response to this global public health emergency.”

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