Comer says GOP seeking evidence of Fauci’s ‘criminal wrongdoing’

June 4, 2024

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said in an interview Monday evening that he would continue to search for evidence of criminal wrongdoing by former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci.

Fauci, who became the face of the government’s COVID-19 response before retiring in 2022, testified Monday before the GOP-led subcommittee panel on the coronavirus pandemic for the first time since leaving public office.

Fauci faced a grilling from many Republican critics who have sought to pin blame on the former White House medical adviser for the struggles Americans faced during the pandemic.

“I think the American people saw the slick-talker who fooled America, who has probably done more harm to public education, he did more harm to our national debt and to our economy than any single human being in my lifetime,” Comer said in an interview on Newsmax after the hearing, repeating claims lobbed at Fauci earlier that day.

“Hopefully, we can take his words today and continue to try to gather evidence and take steps to try to hold him in criminal wrongdoing, because I believe that the majority of Americans realize that Dr. Fauci made costly mistakes, he’s lied about them and he’s tried to cover it up,” he added.

Comer, as chair of the powerful Oversight Committee, has similarly led an effort to find evidence of criminal wrongdoing against President Biden but has come up short.

The panel has held recent hearings focused on Fauci’s former subordinates that have raised new questions about whether Fauci was aware of, or complicit in, misconduct at the NIAID, the agency he headed for decades before retiring at the end of 2022. So far, however, there has been no evidence pointing to criminal wrongdoing, and, Monday, Fauci condemned actions of former NIAID senior adviser David Morens.

“With respect to his recent testimony before this subcommittee, I knew nothing of Dr. Morens’s actions regarding Dr. Daszak, EcoHealth or his emails. It is important to point out for the record that despite his title, and even though he was helpful to me in writing scientific papers, Dr. Morens was not an adviser to me on [NIAID] policy or other substantive issues,” Fauci said in his opening remarks.

During Monday’s hearing, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) attacked Fauci directly, first refusing to address him by the title of “Doctor” and telling him, “You know what this committee should be doing? We should be recommending you to be prosecuted. We should be writing a criminal referral because you should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. You belong in prison, Dr. Fauci.”

Fauci got choked up during the hearing when discussing the onslaught of harassment and death threats he and his family have faced since he became the punching bag for many conservative pundits’ frustrations with the pandemic response. He also said attacks like Greene’s are often what lead to the biggest jump in death threats against him.

The Hill has reached out to Fauci for a response.