A longtime top adviser to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been accused of deleting federal records by Republican lawmakers, has been subpoenaed by the House panel investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. David Morens, the recipient of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic’s Friday subpoena, served as Fauci’s senior adviser at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1998 until former NIAID chief’s retirement at the end of last year.
The GOP-led panel alleges that Morens “likely used his personal email to delete COVID origins documents and evade [Freedom of Information Act] laws.”
The subpoena against Morens comes after the National Institutes of Health failed to respond to a request for information issued by the panel last month, and then produced a “lackluster” amount of documentation – “only two pages” – responsive to separate October request, according to COVID subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio).
Dr. David Morens served as Fauci’s senior adviser at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1998 until former NIAID chief’s retirement at the end of last year. AFP via Getty Images
“This obstruction will not be tolerated,” Wenstrup warned in a letter informing NIH Acting Director Lawrence Tabak about the subpoena issued to Morens, which called the allegations against the NIAID employee “highly concerning.”
“The documents of Dr. Morens are potentially necessary to inform this investigation, including but not limited to his knowledge of information regarding the origins of COVID-19,” the letter continues.
Wenstrup argues that the documents potentially deleted from on Morens personal email account may point to an effort by government officials to cover up evidence that the virus which led to the coronavirus pandemic came from a Chinese lab.
The GOP-led panel alleges that Morens “likely used his personal email to delete COVID origins documents and evade [Freedom of Information Act] laws.”AP
“Further, these documents may shed light on efforts from within the government to suppress or otherwise disregard the possibility COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China,” the letter states.
“It is therefore necessary for the Select Subcommittee to obtain the documents that Dr. Morens produced to the NIH as well as to ensure that all of his relevant documents have been secured and retained.”
Wenstrup also demanded that NIH Records Officer Anthony Crawley Gibson appear before his panel for an interview later this month.
Emails from Morens suggest that government officials, including Fauci, had no interest in pursuing or discussing the possibility that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab. AP
In June, the COVID origins panel released emails from Morens where he suggests that government officials, including Fauci, have no interest in pursuing or discussing the possibility that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese lab.
In one exchange, Morens told Bloomberg reporter Jason Gale that the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services prohibited him from “talk[ing] about [COVID] ‘origins’ on the record,” but that he had recently been given latitude to discuss the matter — as long as he didn’t mention his boss.
“Tony doesn’t want his fingerprints on origin stories,” Morens said in the July 29, 2021, email.
In another email, Morens told colleagues he would “always communicate on gmail because my NIH email is FOIA’d constantly” and that he would “delete anything I don’t want to see in the New York Times.”