GOP launches probe into COVID origins with letter to Fauci
The House Republicans have begun an investigation into COVID-19’s origins by asking for documents and testimony from current and former officials of the Biden administration.
The Republican Chairmen of the House Oversight Committee, and the Subcommittee on Coronavirus Pandemic, are looking for information from Dr. Anthony Fauci about the possibility that coronavirus was accidentally released from a Chinese laboratory.
“This investigation must start with where and how the virus got here so that we can try to predict, prepare, or prevent it happening again,” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chair of subcommittee on virus, stated in a Monday statement.
Chairman of the oversight committee, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), said Republicans would “follow the facts” to “hold U.S. officials who participated in any kind of cover-up accountable.”
The new Republican majority is attempting to fulfill the promises it made during the 2022 midterms campaign by writing letters to Fauci and National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, as well as Health Secretary Xavier Beccera, and other recipients.
Wenstrup is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He has accused U.S. intelligence with withholding key information about its investigation into coronavirus. The committee’s Republicans last year released a staff report arguing there are “indications” that the virus was developed inside China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
This would be contrary to a U.S. intelligence agency assessment that was released unclassified in August 2021. It stated that analysts did not believe the virus was bioweapon but it could have leaked in a laboratory accident.
The Monday letters do not require cooperation from the recipients. Wenstrup, however, announced the December Republican staff report and stated that subpoenas would be issued if witnesses weren’t cooperative.
Scientists are unable to determine how diseases develop, but experts from around the globe have found that COVID-19 was most likely a result of a live animal marketplace in Wuhan, China.
Initially dismissed by government officials and public health professionals, the hypothesis that COVID-19 was caused by an accidental lab leak started to be scrutinized after President Joe Biden ordered an investigation in May 2021.
The review, which lasted 90 days, was intended to encourage American intelligence agencies to review and collect more information. Trump’s former State Department officials had publicly called for more investigation into the origin of viruses, as had scientists and representatives from the World Health Organization. The review was inconclusive. Intelligence agencies stated that they would not be able to determine the origin unless there were unforeseen breakthroughs.
Fauci was Biden’s chief medical advisor until December. Many scientists still believe that the virus originated in nature and spread from animals to humans. This is known as a “spillover event”. The lab-leak hypothesis is not supported by any new scientific evidence.
Republicans accuse Fauci of lying to Congress. He denied that the National Institutes of Health had funded “gain of functionality” research. This is the practice of enhancing viruses in a laboratory to examine their potential impact on the real world. The incident occurred at a Wuhan virology laboratory. Senator Ted Cruz (Republican from Texas) even asked Attorney General Merrick Garland for a special prosecutor in order to investigate Fauci’s statements.
Fauci, who was the country’s most experienced infectious disease expert under Republican and Democratic presidents has dismissed the GOP criticism as absurd.
Cruz and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have stated previously that a October 2021 letter from NIH was sent to Congress in contradiction to Fauci. There is no scientific consensus or clear evidence that “gain-of-function” research was funded in the United States. Also, there is no connection between U.S.-funded research and the emergence COVID-19. NIH repeatedly claimed that funding was not for research that aimed at increasing the infectivity or lethality of a pathogen.
Fauci said in November that he would cooperate fully and testify if Republicans continued to investigate COVID’s source.
“I have no trouble testingifying — we can defend or explain everything we’ve done,” he said to reporters last year during a briefing at the White House.