House COVID panel asks for Fauci's private emails and cell phone records

The chairman of the House subcommittee investigating the COVID-19 pandemic is asking for Anthony Fauci's private emails and cellphone records related to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, EcoHealth and the origins of the coronavirus.

The letter sent Wednesday by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) is part of an escalating investigation into the origins of the virus, which lawmakers say has exposed efforts to conceal official government correspondence, Freedom of Information requests Act and avoid public transparency.

It comes ahead of Fauci's scheduled appearance before the subcommittee on Monday, his first appearance in Congress since retiring from government service as longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Committee Republicans have accused officials at the National Institutes of Health of orchestrating “a potential conspiracy at the highest levels.”

The panel's investigation found no new evidence definitively linking U.S. health officials to the origins of the coronavirus, but it did raise troubling questions about officials' efforts to avoid transparency.

The committee released a series of private emails showing that at least some agency officials, including a top adviser to Fauci, deleted messages and used personal emails in an attempt to violate public records laws to circumvent.

David Morens, a former Fauci aide, testified last week that he may have sent information about government affairs to Fauci's personal email address.

“I can send things to Tony via his private gmail, or hand them to him at work… He is too smart to let coworkers send him things that could cause problems,” Morens wrote in a 2021 email obtained by the committee was released.

In a separate email, Morens referred to a “secret back channel” he would use to communicate with Fauci out of the public eye.

“We are concerned that current and former NIAID officials have seriously undermined and continue to undermine public trust by concealing vital information from the American people,” Wenstrup wrote.

He asked for a response by June 12.

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