by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Testifying behind closed doors on Capitol Hill on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said over 100 times that he “did not recall” important information and conversations relevant to the origins of Covid-19 and the U.S. pandemic response he presided over.
“The face of our nation’s response to the world’s worst public health crisis ‘does not recall’ key details about COVID-19 origins and pandemic-era policies,” House Coronavirus Select Subcommittee chairman Brad Wenstrup (R., Ohio) said in a statement Monday night. The “potentially preventable pandemic” ultimately resulted in the deaths of nearly 1.2 million Americans, the Ohio Republican noted.
In late November, Wenstrup announced that Fauci had agreed to testify before his subcommittee in a private setting over the course of two days. Before retiring at the end of 2022, Fauci served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor under the Trump and Biden administrations.
During the first seven hours of the transcribed interview on Monday, Fauci repeatedly defended his previous Senate testimony in which he claimed the National Institutes of Health did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which was conducting research on bat coronaviruses that may have produced the Covid pandemic. Similar to his hearing exchanges with Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.), Fauci disagreed with Congress’s definition of “gain-of-function” to avoid admitting that the NIH funded potentially dangerous research that led to the pandemic’s outbreak.
Gain-of-function research refers to making viruses more infectious or deadly for laboratory study.
Fauci also testified that he approved of all foreign and domestic NIAID grants without reviewing the proposals, and conceded that he was unable to confirm whether NIAID has any procedure in place to conduct oversight of the foreign labs they fund.