Dr. Anthony Fauci will testify before Congress about the origins of COVID-19 and the U.S. response to the pandemic, according to a letter by a House subcommittee member.
The former chief White House medical advisor will testify before the House of Representatives next year, marking the first time he has done so since Republicans took the majority in the lower chamber, The Wall Street Journal reported. The testimony will include two days of transcribed private interviews in January and a public hearing at a later date. The format resulted from months of negotiations between the committee and Fauci’s legal team.
Republican House lawmakers have criticized Fauci for his handling of the lockdowns and comments he made about the origins of COVID-19. The private interviews will occur on January 8 and 9. Each will last seven hours.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, announced the agreement on November 30 in a letter to Fauci.
“As the former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, you have knowledge pertinent to both investigating and evaluating the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also preparing for future pandemics,” Wenstrup wrote.
Fauci retired from the National Institute of Health at the end of last year after more than 50 years of working for the federal government. He directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly 40 years and currently works as a professor at Georgetown University.
The House testimony by Fauci will come amid heated debates over the origins of COVID-19. Federal agencies have issued conflicting reports on the subject, with some citing a lab leak in China as the most likely origin and others concluding a natural outbreak.
Internal communications obtained by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic revealed that Fauci exchanged emails with scientists who published a study casting doubt on the lab leak theory in the early months of the pandemic. Fauci later cited this study during a White House briefing to discredit the theory.