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House Subcommittee Grills Fauci

State of the Union: The former head of the NIAID faces his first congressional testimony since retirement

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), faced a congressional hearing Monday with the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic over a recent scandal about a cover-up of records by the NIAID (and its parent organization, the National Institutes of Health). 

The hearing marks the first time that Fauci has appeared before Congress since his retirement 18 months ago.

The former top infectious disease official’s tenure has come under fire for the actions of David Morens, a Fauci advisor who used his personal Gmail address to conduct government work to evade public records law. Morens used this private account to communicate with Peter Daszak, a British zoologist whose company conducted research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. In his testimony, Fauci denied using private communications to avoid FOIA, and called Morens’s actions “wrong,” but admitted that it is “conceivable” that he conducted business in emails to Morens’s gmail.

Fauci’s tenure at NIAID has also been criticized for a lack of transparency for his chief of staff’s decision to deliberately misspell words as to avoid FOIA requests. During his testimony, Fauci denied taking part in this avoidance of FOIA requests. 

It is unclear whether Fauci will face prosecution, as called for by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Elon Musk; nevertheless, it is notable that the former NIAID head has come under increased scrutiny from Democrats as well as Republicans, particularly following recent admissions that he “made up” the social distancing rules and the decision to mask children.