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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Dr. Fauci says he’s open to coronavirus lab leak theory

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, a former top coronavirus adviser to President Trump and President Biden, spent 14 hours testifying privately before the House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic during the week of Jan. 7. Democrats and Republicans who were in the room told Straight Arrow News that Fauci is open to the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic began with a lab leak.

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While it’s not the first time Fauci has said he’s open to multiple COVID origin theories, it’s a change from May of 2020, when he said everything about the virus’ evolution appeared to indicate that it came from nature and jumped to humans.

“He has been open and continues to be open today as to where this originated from,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said. “Was it from an animal or was it from a lab?” 

“He was open to the fact that this could be, which we believe, is the lab leak theory,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., told reporters. “I think he’s playing semantics a little bit with the definition of what a lab leak is. But that seems to be a little different than what he has said in the past. It seemed like he was more wanting to suppress the lab leak theory and say this was from natural origins.”

What Fauci said during the interview is unknown, but according to committee chairman Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, Fauci clearly didn’t know everything that was going on at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) while he was director.

Wenstrup said Dr. Fauci testified that he signed off on every foreign and domestic NIAID grant without reviewing the proposals, and that he was unable to confirm if NIAID has any mechanisms to conduct oversight of the foreign laboratories they fund — which would include whether “gain of function” was happening.

That’s important because it gets back to key questions that Dr. Fauci has been asked for years:

  1. Was the virus naturally occurring or was it a lab leak?
  2. Did the U.S. government fund gain of function research in China?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., famously pressed him on these questions in 2021. 

“Gain of function research as you know is juicing up naturally occurring animal viruses to infect humans,” Sen. Paul said at a May 2021 Senate hearing. “To arrive at the truth, the U.S. government should admit that the Wuhan Virology Institute was experimenting to enhance the coronavirus’ ability to infect humans.

“Dr. Fauci do you still support funding of the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan,” Paul asked.

“Senator Paul with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Fauci responded. 

Wenstrup also accused Fauci of playing semantics with the meaning of gain of function research and said Fauci testified that he “did not recall” more than 100 times when asked about COVID information or specific conversations. 

“Dr. Fauci’s testimony today uncovered drastic and systemic failures in America’s public health systems,” Wenstrup said in a statement. “While leading the nation’s COVID-19 response and influencing public narratives, he simultaneously had no idea what was happening under his own jurisdiction at NIAID.”

Fauci declined to comment when asked about Wenstrup’s description of the meeting. 

Democrats inside the room said the Republicans’ statements are a distortion. 

“They were disinformation,” Dingell said. “They did not reflect the discussion that I was feeling at the end of the day when I left here that it had been a respectful discussion. What Tony Fauci did yesterday was lay out what the grant review process is.”

The committee will release a transcript of the interviews and Fauci will eventually testify publicly. Democrats said they hope the transcript is released promptly.

So what’s the point of interviewing Fauci after he already left his government job? Wenstrup said it’s about getting to the bottom of what happened with COVID-19 and preparing for the next pandemic. 

“If we’re gonna have this possibility of something able to be made in a lab and the possibility of something able to come from nature, then we should have a structure set up,” Wenstrup told reporters. “Then immediately once there’s some kind of an outbreak, we deal with that scientifically.”

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[RAY BOGAN]

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was a top Coronavirus adviser to Presidents Trump and Biden, spent 14 hours testifying behind closed doors right down this hallway, and Democrats and republicans in the room told us he’s open to the possibility that the Coronavirus started with a lab leak. 

[Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI]

He has been open and continues to be open today as to where this originated from.// Was it from an animal or was it from a lab?” 

[Rep. Nicole Malliotakis]

He also seemed to agree that he was open to the fact that this could be, which we believe, is the lab leak theory. I think he’s playing semantics a little bit with what the definition of the lab leak is. But it seems to be a little different then what he said in the past, when it seemed he wanted to suppress the lab leak theory and say this was from natural origins.” 

[RAY BOGAN]

Dr. Fauci spent two full days testifying before the House Committee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and While we don’t know everything that he said in private, the committee’s chairman told reporters that Fauci clearly didn’t know everything that was going on at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases while he was director. 

Chairman Brad Wenstrup said Dr. Fauci testified that he signed off on every foreign and domestic NIAID grant without reviewing the proposals, and that he was unable to confirm if NIAID has any mechanisms to conduct oversight of the foreign laboratories they fund — which would include whether gain-of-function was happening.

That’s important because it gets back to key questions that Dr. Fauci has been asked for years, 1) was the virus naturally occurring or was it a lab leak, and 2) Did the US government fund what’s called gain of function research in China?

Senator Rand Paul famously pressed him on this in 2021. 

[Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY]

Gain of function research as you know is juicing up naturally occurring animal viruses to infect humans. To arrive at the truth, the US government should admit that the lab in Wuhan was experimenting to enhance the virus’s ability to infect humans. // tc 1:52 Dr. Fauci do you still support funding of the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?”

[Dr. Anthony Fauci]

Senator Paul with all due respect, you are entirely and completely incorrect that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” 

[RAY BOGAN]

Wenstrup also accused Fauci of playing semantics with the meaning of gain of function research and said Fauci testified that he quote “did not recall” more than 100 times when asked about COVID information or specific conversations. 

Wenstrup said in a statement: “Dr. Fauci’s testimony today uncovered drastic and systemic failures in America’s public health systems. While leading the nation’s COVID-19 response and influencing public narratives, he simultaneously had no idea what was happening under his own jurisdiction at NIAID.” 

Dr. Fauci declined to comment when asked about Wenstrup’s description of the meeting. 

Democrats inside the room say the Republicans’ statements distort what Fauci really said. 

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI: “They were disinformation. They did not reflect the discussion that I was feeling at the end of the day when I left here that it had been a respectful discussion.What tony Fauci did yesterday was lay out what the grant review process is.” 

[RAY BOGAN]

So what’s the point of interviewing Fauci after he already left his government job? The committee’s chairman said it’s about getting to the bottom of what happened with Covid 19 and preparing for the next pandemic. 

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio:If we’re gonna have this possibility of something able to be made in a lab and the possibility of something able to come from nature then we should have a structure set up then immediately  once there’s some some kind of an outbreak then we deal with that scientifically. “