House Republicans reignite war over COVID origins
House Republicans are officially restarting their investigations into coronavirus origins, this time with the weight of the majority behind them.
On Monday Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and Rep. James Comer, chairman of the Oversight Committee, demanded documents and testimony from Biden officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the president of EcoHealth Alliance.
‘This investigation must begin with where and how this virus came about so that we can attempt to predict, prepare or prevent it from happening again,’ Wenstrup said in a statement.
The new release follows on demands from Comer and Rep. Jim Jordan made last in December, sending letters to HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra, Fauci, Francis Collins, former NIH director and science advisor to President Biden, EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak and others.
On Monday Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and Rep. James Comer, chairman of the Oversight Committee, demanded documents and testimony from Biden officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the president of EcoHealth Alliance
The committee is seeking testimony from Fauci and 40 other officials, phone records
‘Government scientists and government funded researchers have so far been less than forthcoming in their knowledge and actions, including work with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and potential pandemic pathogens,’ Wenstrup added.
The committee is seeking testimony from Fauci and 40 other officials, phone records, calendars and other communications between the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases involving the Wuhan lab or EcoHealth Alliance.
Fauci led the NIAID for nearly 40 years before stepping down last year. he has expressed an openness to testifying before a GOP-led panel before. The testimony would be a transcribed interview rather than on-air.
Republicans also want a classified briefing from the intelligence community.
The 12-member coronavirus response subcommittee is tasked with investigating the origins of the pandemic and whether gain-of-function research was involved.
Gain-of-function research involves intentionally making a virus more deadly or virulent to study its effects. It is central to the claim Covid-19 originated in a Wuhan lab, potentially backed by funding from the U.S. government through EcoHealth Alliance.
An addendum to a report being compiled by Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, adds further evidence to the theory that the Covid-19 first emerged from a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (pictured)
The subcommittee will look into a vast swathe of Covid-related topics, including pandemic shutdowns, vaccines, vaccine mandates and economic impacts.
Last Congress Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee issued a report they said concluded the virus leaked from a lab.
The report cited ‘ample evidence’ that scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – aided by U.S. experts and Chinese and U.S. government funds – were working to modify coronaviruses to infect humans and such manipulation could be hidden.
Its authors cited a stream of open source information, including satellite imagery showing a surge in visitors to local hospitals, long before cases were reported emerging from a nearby market.
China denies the virus leaked from a laboratory and the early scientific consensus was that it most likely emerged naturally, leaping from a host animal to humans, perhaps at a market near the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
But that consensus was thrown into doubt when a string of scientists said they could not be sure of the pandemic’s origins. As a result, President Biden ordered the intelligence community to look again at the question.
Monday’s request for documents will reignite a long-running row about whether the federal government may have funded dangerous research.
Researchers work at a lab in at the Wuhan institute. Republicans in a House committee are compiling a report that seeks to prove the virus was made in one of the labs and escaped sometime before Sept. 12, 2019
For example, Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci have clashed repeatedly over gain-of-function research and a $600,000 grant the National Institutes of Health (NIH) gave to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2014. Paul accused the country’s top infectious disease expert of misleading Congress when he said the US had never funded gain-of-function research at the WIV.
The Foreign Affairs report accused Peter Daszak, whose EcoHealth Alliance funneled the U.S. funding to China, and WIV scientists of taking part in the cover-up.
‘Their actions include bullying other scientists who questioned whether the virus could have leaked from a lab; misleading the world about how a virus can be modified without leaving a trace; and, in many, instances directly lying about the nature of the research they were conducting, as well as the low-level safety protocols they were using for that research,’ it said.