The White House is playing defense on behalf of Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD). They’re standing firmly by his side amid backlash over more than 3,200 pages of Fauci’s emails sent at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more than one year ago. The messages, released to Buzzfeed under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, show how he chose to handle the earliest days of the horrific crisis that has now claimed close to 4 million lives worldwide.
I’ll be honest. These emails aren’t a good look for Dr. Fauci. Before I go on, let me preface what I’m about to say with this – when the Coronavirus first reared its ugly head and the world was introduced to the “hero” doctor, I WANTED to trust him. Of course I did. We all did. He was specifically chosen to lead our nation as we faced a scary virus no one knew anything about – it was his job – and I was a terrified new mom confined to a tiny apartment in Brooklyn.
On the surface, the emails aren’t terrible on a personal level. Dr. Fauci kindly responded to everyday Americans who had burning questions about COVID-19 – people asked about canceling conferences, if they should travel, etc. But if you dig deeper, you’ll discover a couple things: Dr. Fauci was introduced to the possibility of the virus spreading via a lab leak extremely early, and he was concerned the Wuhan Institute of Virology was executing dangerous gain-of-function research.
First, the emails show that despite his public dismissals, Fauci was aware of the scientific basis for the lab-leak theory early on.
Here’s what Dr. Fauci said in April 2020 during a Fox & Friends interview, when he encouraged wet markets all over the world to shut down:
“It boggles my mind how when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don’t just shut it down. I don’t know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that . . . because what we’re going through right now is a direct result of that.”
Let that sink in. To reiterate, Dr. Fauci said in April 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic was a direct result of bats infecting humans.
He echoed that same tune in an interview with National Geographic in May 2020:
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated.” Fauci went on to say that he doesn’t believe in “an alternate theory — that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped . . . everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species,” the doctor said.
Yet Fauci’s newly released emails tell a completely different story. On January 31, 2020 (months before a pandemic was declared), Dr. Fauci forwarded an article in Science Magazine to U.S. virus researcher Kristian Andersen and a man who runs a global health charity in Britain. The title of the article: “Mining coronavirus genomes for clues to the outbreak’s origins.”
Here is the email exchange:
Fauci wrote, “This just came out today. You may have seen it. If not, it is of interest to the current discussion.”
Andersen, who heads up a viral genomics lab at Scripps Research in California, responded:
“The unusual features of the virus make up a really small part of the genome (<0.1%) so one has to look really closely at all the sequences to see that some of the features (potentially) look engineered. . . . I should mention that after discussions earlier today, Eddie, Rob, Mike, and myself all find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory. But we have to look at this much more closely and there are still further analyses to be done, so those opinions could still change.”
This proves that one of Dr. Fauci’s associates had provided him with a reasonable, scientific explanation for why a lab-created theory held water long before most of us knew about the Coronavirus and months before he publicly dismissed the lab leak theory as inconsistent with the evidence of the virus’s evolution.
Since then, he has tweaked his stance. Last week, when speaking to CNN, he said:
“I have always said and will say today to you, John, that I still believe the most likely origin is from an animal species to a human, but I keep an absolutely open mind that there may be other origins of that . . . there may be another reason . . . . It could have been a lab leak. . . . I believe if you look historically, what happens in the animal/human interface . . . that in fact the more likelihood is that you’re dealing with a jump of species . . . but I keep an open mind . . . .”
Remember everyone who was chastised and labeled a “conspiracy theorist” for even hinting that COVID-19 could have come from a lab?
Second, we learn from Dr. Fauci’s emails that he was concerned about his office being tied to funding for gain-of-function research, a highly controversial method of increasing the contagion and strength of a virus.
Last week during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Senators questioned Dr. Fauci about grant funding given to the Wuhan Institute of Virology that was supposed to be used to study whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans. That funding totaled $600,000, but Fauci couldn’t confirm it was being put toward its intended purpose. In that same hearing, Dr. Fauci admitted that “there’s no way of guaranteeing” the Chinese didn’t use money for gain-of-function research. This brings me back to the emails.
On February 1, 2020, Fauci sent a message to Hugh Auchincloss, his top deputy at the NIAID.
“Hugh: It is essential that we speak this AM. . . . Keep your cell phone on. . . . Read this paper as well as the e-mail that I will forward to you now. You will have tasks today that must be done.”
Attached to that message was a PDF document of a paper that appeared in a journal called “Nature Medicine” titled “A SARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronaviruses shows potential for human emergence.” Auchincloss responded:
“The paper you sent me says the experiments were performed before the gain of function pause [in October 2014] but have since been reviewed and approved by NIH. . . . Not sure what that means since Emily is sure that no Coronavirus work has gone through the P3 framework. She will try to determine if we have any distant ties to this work abroad.”
Fauci simply responded, “Ok. Stay tuned.”
According to a major, in-depth investigation by Vanity Fair:
In one State Department meeting, officials seeking to demand transparency from the Chinese government say they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, “The emails paint a disturbing picture, a disturbing picture of Dr. Fauci, from the very beginning, worrying that he had been funding gain-of-function research . . . .”
The question remains, was he?
At the ACLJ, we’re not just talking about this situation, we’re taking action. We just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding to know WHY the Biden Administration chose to shut down a State Department investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 virus. That investigation was led by our own Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo, who was Secretary of State at the time. The families of the 3.72 million lives lost to this pandemic deserve answers. And the ACLJ won’t stop aggressively working until we get them.
As we prepare to go to court to demand answers from the Biden Administration on the origins of COVID-19 and to hold China accountable, we need your support. Have your gift DOUBLED today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.
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