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'Because I said so': 5 takeaways from the Fauci hearing
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'Because I said so': 5 takeaways from the Fauci hearing

Democrats continued painting Fauci as a blameless victim whereas Republicans sought to dig closer to the truth.

Former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci was grilled by the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic for 14 hours in January. In the lengthy interview, Fauci admitted that he was unaware of any scientific studies demonstrating that masking for children worked or that the 6-foot social distancing guidelines — which effectively shut down schools, churches, and businesses — were an effective way of curbing the spread of the coronavirus. Fauci also acknowledged that the lab leak theory was not a conspiracy theory as he previously suggested.

Fauci, who plays a starring role in BlazeTV's "The Coverup," appeared before the committee Monday to speak to these admissions as well as to his role in overseeing the funding of deadly gain-of-function experiments.

''Because I said so.' That's never been good enough for Americans and it never will be.'

Committee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) told Fauci at the outset, "Whether intentional or not, you became so powerful that any disagreements the public had with you were forbidden and censored on social and most legacy media time and time again. That is why so many Americans became so angry — because this was fundamentally un-American."

"'Because I said so.' That's never been good enough for Americans and it never will be," added Wenstrup. "Americans do not want to be indoctrinated. They want to be educated."

The hearing had the potential to be educational; however, Democratic committee members opted for the former, celebrating Fauci, defending his preferred narratives, and lobbing attacks on their political opponents.

Republican lawmakers, alternatively, attempted to hold Fauci's feet to a low-heat fire, largely failing to get results.

What follows are five key takeaways from the Fauci hearing.

1. Not so effective after all

When asked straight out by Wenstrup whether the vaccine "stopped transmission of the virus," Fauci answered, "That is a complicated issue because in the beginning, the first iteration of the vaccines did have an effect — not 100%, not a high effect — they did prevent infection and subsequently, obviously transmission."

'I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine.'

"However, it's important to point out something that we did not know early on that became evident as the months went by is that the durability of protection against infection and hence transmission was relatively limited whereas the duration of protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death was more prolonged," said Fauci. "In the beginning it was felt that in fact it did prevent infection and thus transmission."

After discovering Fauci would not disavow any of the draconian COVID measures he championed during the pandemic, Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) also asked Fauci about his support for vaccine mandates and the efficacy of vaccines.

Fauci reiterated, "It clearly prevented infection in a certain percentage of people, but the durability of its ability to prevent infection was not long."

Fauci was one of the most visible and consistent exponents of the "safe and effective" mantra, having claimed in December 2020, "I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine and I want to encourage everyone who has the opportunity to get vaccinated so that we can have a veil of protection over this country, that would end this pandemic."

2. Fauci: The blameless victim

Whereas Republican members blasted the former NIAID director for funding dangerous experiments of the kind that may have kicked off the pandemic as well as his years-long promotion of falsehoods, Democrats painted Fauci as a blameless victim and seized on the opportunity, as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) did, to attack former President Donald Trump and other Republicans.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) told Fauci, "You're human, just like the rest of us," and stressed that he "deserve[s] better."

"I've seen your commitment not just to science, but to, again, to the greater good," said Dingell.

'You have been a hero to many for 54 years.'

After singing Fauci's praises, Dingell gave Fauci an opportunity to complain about facing criticism and perceived threats.

Democratic Reps. Dingell, Robert Garcia (Calif.), Jill Tokuda (Hawaii), Katherine Castor (Fla.), Raul Ruiz (Calif.), and Kweisi Mfume (Md.) similarly engaged in hagiography.

"We owe you an apology for the way we have dragged you through the mud," said Mfume.

"You have been a hero to many for 54 years," continued Mfume. "You are a world-renowned scientist and an American patriot."

Mfume made no mention of Americans who have suffered vaccine injuries but instead spoke in the abstract of "thousands of American lives [that] could have been spared" if they had not followed so-called conspiracy theories during the pandemic.

After paying his respects to Fauci, Rep. Garcia asked whether the "American public should listen to America's brightest and best doctors and scientists, or instead listen to podcasters, conspiracy theorists, and unhinged Facebook memes."

"Listening to the people just described is going to do nothing but harm people because they will deprive themselves of life-saving interventions," said Fauci, who was among the so-called experts who cautioned against using ivermectin to fight COVID-19.

Fauci proceeded to accuse the unvaccinated of getting an estimated 200,000-300,000 killed in the U.S. alone.

3. Fauci hangs 'inner circle' out to dry

Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) noted that there is "a troubling pattern of behavior" in Fauci's "inner circle," naming Fauci's David M. Morens, senior scientific adviser to the head of the NIAID, and Fauci's former chief of staff as two offenders.

Comer pressed Fauci on whether Morens violated NIH policy by using a personal email for official purposes. Fauci appeared more than willing to throw his former adviser and frequent correspondent under the bus, indicating Morens' personal email use to avoid transparency was indeed in violation of agency policy.

"Does it violate NIAID policy to delete records to intentionally avoid FOIA?"

"Yes," said Fauci.

'That was wrong and inappropriate and violated policy.'

"On April 28, 2020, Dr. Morens edited an EcoHealth press release regarding the grant termination. Does that violate policy?" asked Comer.

"That was inappropriate for him to be doing that for a grantee as a conflict of interest, among other things," said Fauci.

"On March 29, 2021, Dr. Morens edited a letter that Dr. Daszak was sending to NIH. Does that violate policy?" asked Comer.

"Yes, it does," answered Fauci.

"On Oct. 25, 2021, Dr. Brady provided Dr. Daszak with advice regarding how to mislead NIH on EcoHealth's late progress report. Does that violate policy?" asked Comer.

"That was wrong and inappropriate and violated policy," said Fauci.

"On Dec. 7, 2021, Dr. Morens wrote to the chair of EcoHealth board of directors to quote, 'Put in a word,' for Dr. Daszak. Does that violate policy?" asked Comer.

"Should not have been done, and that was wrong," said Fauci. "Well, I'm not sure of a specific policy, but I imagine that does violate policy. Should not have been doing that."

4. Fauci denies funding gain-of-function research

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) asked Fauci whether the National Institutes of Health funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

'I would not characterize it as dangerous gain-of-function research.'

"I would not characterize it the way you did," said Fauci, contradicting the NIH's account. "The National Institutes of Health, through a sub-award to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, funded research on the surveillance of and the possibility of emerging infections. I would not characterize it as dangerous gain-of-function research."

Elsewhere in his testimony Monday, Fauci said that "according to the regulatory and operative definition of [Proposed Research Involving Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens], the NIH did not fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology."

Lesko quoted NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak as acknowledging the "failure of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to provide us with the data that we requested and the lab notebooks that we requested, [which] certainly impeded our ability to understand what was really going on with the experiments that we have been discussing."

Granted the lack of transparency at the infamous lab, Lesko asked Fauci how he can be certain that the National Institutes of Health did not fund gain-of-function research on coronaviruses in China granted its subcontractor EcoHealth Alliance's reporting failures.

Fauci once again stressed that the NIH did not fund the deadly research in question, which EcoHealth Alliance's subcontractor specialized in.

5. Downplayed likelihood of lab leak

Fauci claimed Monday that the idea he covered up a lab leak was "preposterous."

Fauci indicated in his opening statement that he was informed on Jan. 31, 2020, "through phone calls with Jeremy Farrar, then director of the Wellcome Trust in the U.K., and then with Christian Anderson, a highly regarded scientist at Scripps Research Institute, that they and Eddie Holmes, a world class evolutionary biologist from Australia, were concerned that the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 suggested that the virus could have been manipulated in a lab."

Fauci then noted he partook in a conference call the next day "with about a dozen international virologists to discuss this possibility versus a spillover from an animal reservoir."

Despite indications to the contrary, Fauci claimed, "The accusation being circulated that I influenced these scientists to change their minds by bribing them with millions of dollars in grant money is absolutely false and simply preposterous. I had no input into the content of the published paper," referencing the March 2020 study published in the journal Nature, "The Proximal Origins of SARS-CoV-2."

"The second issue is a false accusation that I tried to cover up the possibility that the virus originated from a lab. In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite," continued Fauci. "I have repeatedly stated that I have a completely open mind to either possibility and that if definitive evidence becomes available to validate or refute either theory, I will readily accept it."

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) later asked Fauci whether he downplayed the lab leak theory on account of having funded experimental viruses at the Wuhan lab — funding Fauci copped to but Ranking Member Raul Ruiz nevertheless cast doubt on in his closing remarks.

Fauci, prickled by the suggestion that he tried to downplay the possibility he had fingerprints on research that got millions of Americans killed, answered in the negative.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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