House COVID panel asks for Fauci’s private emails, cellphone records

May 30, 2024

The chairman of the House subcommittee investigating the COVID-19 pandemic is asking for Anthony Fauci’s private emails and cellphone records related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, EcoHealth and the origins of the coronavirus. 

The letter sent by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) Wednesday is as part of an escalating probe into the virus’s origins that lawmakers say has uncovered efforts to hide official government correspondence, evade Freedom of Information Act requests and avoid public transparency. 

It comes ahead of Fauci’s slated appearance in front of the subcommittee on Monday, his first congressional appearance since retiring from government service as the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

Committee Republicans have accused officials at the National Institutes of Health of orchestrating “a potential conspiracy at the highest levels.”  

The panel’s investigation hasn’t yielded new evidence definitively linking U.S. health officials to the origins of the coronavirus, but it’s raised troubling questions about officials’ efforts to avoid transparency. 

The committee has released a series of private emails that suggest at least some agency officials, including a top adviser to Fauci, deleted messages and used personal emails in an effort to skirt public records laws. 

David Morens, a former Fauci aide, testified last week that he may have sent information on government business to Fauci’s personal email address. 

“I can either send stuff to Tony on his private gmail, or hand it to him at work…He is too smart to let colleagues send him stuff that could cause trouble,” Morens wrote in a 2021 email released by the committee.  

In a separate email, Morens referenced a “secret back channel” that he would use to communicate with Fauci outside the public eye. 

“We are concerned that current and former NIAID officials have and are continuing to seriously undermined public trust by concealing vital information to the American people,” Wenstrup wrote.  

He asked for a response by June 12.