Dr. Anthony Fauci is appearing before Congress on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9 to answer questions for some 14 hours on how he flipped his position on public policy for masks, how the agency he headed funded risky research in China, and how post-infection immunity was downplayed.
Dr. Fauci, 83, a chief architect of the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is sitting down behind closed doors to face questioning from the U.S. House of Representatives Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. It’s the first time he’ll answer questions under oath since November 2022.
Dr. Fauci agreed to appear to answer questions for about seven hours each day but only if he could bring two personal lawyers and two government lawyers, the panel announced in late 2023.
Members of the panel plan to ask Dr. Fauci about how he flipped positions on mask policy, a committee aide said. Dr. Fauci started from the position that masks wouldn’t work to curb transmission of COVID-19, according to emails he sent in early 2020, to being an ardent supporter of not only wearing masks but mandating masks.
Dr. Fauci, who was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for more than 30 years, will also face questions about an email that described him as prompting the drafting of a publication that downplayed the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China; on his agency sending money to that same lab through a nonprofit; and on his communications with other top government officials on the origins of COVID-19.
Dr. Fauci spoke with scientists who drafted a publication called “Proximal Origins” that claimed to disprove the theory that COVID-19 came from the Wuhan lab. The theory has not been disproven, many experts say.
Dr. Fauci promoted the paper from the White House podium without disclosing his involvement in it, even though one of the scientists said in an email obtained by the House subcommittee that Dr. Fauci “prompted” the paper.
Dr. Fauci has previously said the idea that the paper was drafted to disprove the lab leak theory was “conspiracy at its height,” though he did not directly address whether he prompted the paper.
Robert Kadlec, a top U.S. official during the early part of the pandemic, recently said that he thought Dr. Fauci’s goal in promoting the idea that COVID-19 had a natural origin was to divert attention away from the Wuhan lab.
Dr. Fauci also testified to Congress that his agency did not fund a type of work called gain-of-function, or testing that enhances a virus, in China. But documents released by the NIAID’s parent agency showed experiments conducted in Wuhan on a bat coronavirus resulted in mice becoming sicker when compared to the original virus.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a doctor, and others have said Dr. Fauci lied. Dr. Paul asked U.S. prosecutors to prosecute Dr. Fauci but there has been no indication they have pursued the referrals.
Vaccines, Lockdowns, and Natural Immunity
The subcommittee also plans to ask Dr. Fauci about so-called breakthrough infections, or COVID-19 cases among the vaccinated.
Breakthrough cases began appearing shortly after the vaccines were rolled out in December 2020, including cases that resulted in severe illness and/or death. Meanwhile, top U.S. officials were claiming well into 2021 that vaccinated people could not get sick.
An email from Jan. 30, 2021, obtained by The Epoch Times, showed that Dr. Fauci was discussing breakthroughs with his boss at the time, Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Fauci will be asked about the discussions, a subcommittee aide indicated.
Other planned categories of questioning include Dr. Fauci’s support for harsh measures such as the forced closure of businesses and schools; statements on post-infection immunity, or natural immunity, made by Dr. Fauci and others; the way deaths were classified as COVID-19 deaths; how Dr. Fauci has accepted royalties; and how one of his top deputies admitted to using his personal email to avoid messages being made public through the Freedom of Information Act.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), chairman of the subcommittee, said on a podcast that the questioning will take place behind closed doors so members can “dig deep into some of the issues.” In public hearings, each member only has five minutes of questioning, and the hearings typically conclude after several hours.
The subcommittee does plan to hold a public hearing in the future with Dr. Fauci.
“It’s an after-action review. And he’s someone who can speak on so many of the decisions that were made,” Dr. Wenstrup said.
Dr. Wenstrup told The Epoch Times in an email that more than 200 pages of questions and about 100 exhibits, including the message on natural immunity, have been prepared for this week.
“Americans demand and deserve explanations for any pandemic-era failures. This is an opportunity for Dr. Fauci to explain his COVID-19 policy positions,” Dr. Wenstrup said. “His forthcoming, honest, and transparent testimony over the next two days is critical for improving our nation’s future public health responses.”