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Fauci returns for post-retirement COVID testimony

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May 29, 2024
Former NIAID Director Anthony Fauci

Fauci responds to accusations by Sen. Rand Paul at a 2021 Senate HELP hearing. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

Former NIAID director Anthony Fauci is due to appear before the House's COVID Select Subcommittee on Monday, marking the first time he has testified publicly since he retired at the end of 2022.

Why it matters: While Fauci will probably face more questions from GOP members on COVID origins and what they characterize as a heavy handed federal response, it will be telling if Democrats sound any critical notes now that he's no longer a federal official.

  • Fauci in January had a two-day, closed-door interview with the subcommittee about the pandemic's origins and the government response.

State of play: Last week the subcommittee held a hearing with one of Fauci's former aides, David Morens, who was criticized by Republicans and Democrats for using a private email account to send emails about COVID origins and trying to bypass federal records disclosure rules.

  • Committee members have questioned whether Morens' behavior is a sign that Fauci may have also engaged in covering up communications or violating federal records laws.
  • HHS also recently barred the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance from receiving federal funds, citing reporting lapses around research it funded with an NIH grant at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

What they're saying: Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup said that Fauci in January "testified to serious systemic failures in our public health system," that "raises significant concerns about public health officials and the validity of their policy recommendations."

  • "We also learned that Dr. Fauci believes the lab leak hypothesis he publicly downplayed should not be dismissed as a conspiracy theory," Wenstrup added.
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