Democrats in the House today will be continuing their efforts with the Russia probe and what they believe to be former President Donald Trump’s possible obstruction of justice.
Trump’s first White House counsel and was a key witness for investigators during the Russia investigation, Don McGahn, is set to testify today before the House Judiciary Committee.
U.S. House Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted this morning that he believes “it should be Dr. Fauci,” instead of “Don McGahn” who “is being deposed today before the Judiciary Committee.”
Don McGahn is being deposed today before the Judiciary Committee.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) June 4, 2021
It should be Dr. Fauci.
The deposition, however will be transcribed behind closed doors more than two years after the Democratic-led panel subpoenaed him for his testimony.
Dr. Anthony Fauci in an interview yesterday said that an email he received last year from an executive at the US-based EcoHealth Alliance has been misconstrued and offered a hint of regret about a February 2020 email downplaying the need to wear a mask.
CNN’s John Berman pointed out to Fauci that “There are some of your critics who say this shows you have too cozy of a relationship with the people behind the Wuhan lab research,” and asked, “What do you say to that?”
Fauci replied, “That’s nonsense, I don’t even see how they get that from that email,” and then emphasized that the email was sent to him, and he noted the origins of the coronavirus are still uncertain.
In the rest of the interview with CNN, Fauci appeared to be on the defensive:
“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 if there may be other origins of that, there may be another reason, it could have been a lab leak,” Fauci told Berman. “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 all the time. And that’s the reason why I have been public that we should continue to look for the origin.
“You can misconstrue it however you want — that email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species. I still do think it is, at the same time as I’m keeping an open mind that it might be a lab leak.
“In another email sent to Fauci on April 16, NIH director Francis Collins wrote “conspiracy theory gains momentum,” a reference to the lab-leak hypothesis. But much of the email is redacted, and Fauci said he did not remember its substance.
“They only took about 10,000 emails from me, of course I remember. I remember all 10,000 of them. Give me a break,” he said. “I don’t remember what’s in that redacted, but the idea I think is quite farfetched that the Chinese deliberately engineered something so that they could kill themselves as well as other people. I think that’s a bit far out, John.”
Berman also brought up a February 5, 2020, email Fauci sent to Sylvia Burwell, former secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, in which he did not recommend wearing a mask since she was traveling to a low-risk location. The email was sent at a time before coronavirus was declared a pandemic and before the CDC advised the public to wear masks for protection.
“A lot has transpired since then. If you had to go back and do it all over again, would you tell her something different? Do you regret that?” Berman asked Fauci.
“Let’s get real here — if you look at scientific information as it accumulates, what is going on in January and February, what you know as a fact, as data, guides what you tell people and your policies. If March, April, May occur, you accumulate a lot more information and you modify and adjust your opinion and your recommendation based on the current science and current data,” Fauci told Berman.”
So of course, if we knew back then that a substantial amount of transmission was asymptomatic people. If we knew that the data show that masks outside of a hospital setting actually do work when we didn’t know it then. If we realize all of those things back then, of course,” he said. “You’re asking a question, ‘Would you do something different if you know what you know now?’ Of course people would have done that. That’s so obvious.”
In regards to McGahn’s deposition, a transcript of the interview is scheduled to be released afterward.
The scope of the questions, however, is limited to information attributed to McGahn in the redacted version of Mueller’s report and whether the report accurately reflected McGahn’s statements to the special counsel.
McGahn can refuse to answer questions outside that narrow line of questioning, including queries about communications between McGahn and other administration officials that do not appear in the public version of Mueller’s report.
That limited scope raises questions about how much the committee and the American people will learn from McGahn’s interview beyond what’s already publicly known.
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