Fauci distances himself from NIH scandal ahead of House COVID hearing

June 3, 2024

Anthony Fauci, the former government scientist seen as the face of the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic, is distancing himself from former aides at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease who were seemingly trying to evade public records laws. 

In his opening statement published online ahead of a Monday hearing, Fauci said he “knew nothing” of the actions of David Morens, an agency senior adviser whose emails uncovered by the committee appear to show him trying to hide information from being disclosed under transparency laws.  

Morens “was not an adviser to me on institute policy or other substantive issues,” Fauci wrote. “He is a scientist, writer and historian.”  

Morens’s emails uncovered by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic also seem to indicate Fauci wanted to conduct official business on his private email as a way to avoid having potentially sensitive comments from going public. 

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

But in his prepared testimony, Fauci strongly pushed back at the implication. 

“[To] the best of my knowledge I have never conducted official business via my personal email,” he wrote. 

Republicans on the subcommittee have spent the past year and a half searching through official records and emails, trying to find evidence linking Fauci to the origins of the virus and potentially dangerous viral research conducted in a lab in Wuhan, China. 

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. 

In his testimony, Fauci reiterated his stance that the viruses being studied under federally funded grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology “had never been shown to infect humans, much less cause high transmissibility or significant morbidity and mortality in humans,” and so it was not gain-of-function research. 

That research at the Wuhan lab did not create the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused the pandemic, and any suggestion otherwise “is without the slightest bit of evidence or feasibility,” he wrote.