COVID select subcommittee recommends EcoHealth Alliance president be ‘formally debarred and criminally investigated’

A Wednesday hearing from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s link to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China sought to clear up “discrepancies” from previous closed-door testimony.

The congressional investigation on COVID continued on Capitol Hill as the president of EcoHealth Alliance Inc., Peter Daszak, accepted an invitation to once again answer questions. During that inquisition from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, Republican members of the body made clear the gravity of the hearing as they recommended Daszak be “criminally investigated.”

Breaking down points that had been established in a 60-page report released earlier in the day, subcommittee chair Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R) asserted during his opening remarks, “EcoHealth was absolutely conducting gain-of-function research, specifically in Wuhan” and “EcoHealth’s actions themselves are a threat to national security.”

Though House Democrats, including subcommittee ranking member California Rep. Raul Ruiz insisted that the report didn’t prove a lab leak theory or EcoHealth’s involvement in the controversial research, let alone the potential creation of COVID-19, the report itself did call into question allegedly conflicting statements from Daszak.

Included his responses to questions asked during November testimony, the report found “serious, systemic weaknesses at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that enabled EcoHealth to fund dangerous gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China,” and recommended Daszak “be formally debarred and criminally investigated as a result of his actions prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the report, EcoHealth had used taxpayer money toward gain-of-function research at the WIV and was in violation of NIH grants by not reporting on the dangers of experiments conducted at the institute.

Of course, even after scrutiny had been placed on EcoHealth, Daszak and their connections to Fauci as then-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the NIAID had reportedly been awarded another NIH grant for five years of “high-risk virus discovery research in bats” in Asia in 2022.

The point that the president had sought grant reinstatement was flagged by the report that asserted the president had “omitted a material fact and misled the NIH about the location of untested samples.”

Prior to his Wednesday appearance before Congress, the GOP members of the select subcommittee had issued a letter to Daszak over the, lightly put, “discrepancies” of his previous testimony.

“These revelations undermine your credibility as well as every factual assertion you made during your transcribed interview. The Committees have a right and an obligation to protect the integrity of their investigations, including the accuracy of testimony during a transcribed interview. We invite you to correct the record,” they wrote.

Amid questioning, a fiery interaction with Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith (R) had the congressman insisting that without new data Daszak had reversed his position on the potential of bat coronavirus spillovers into humans from being rare to substantial, either due to pressure from Fauci or NIAID, or from concerns over liability for EcoHealth, and said, “You didn’t tell me the truth.”

Throughout the hearing, Daszak maintained EcoHealth had not done gain-of-function research.

Meanwhile, as a thorough explanation of EcoHealth’s relationship with WIV was sought, Democratic members of the subcommittee shared their own interest in the hearing along the lines of not letting a crisis go to waste.

Speaking with Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for the Democrats contended they have “underscored the importance of pursuing and prioritizing forward-looking reforms that enhance biosafety standards in the United States and around the globe so that we can reduce the threat of future outbreaks and prevent future pandemics.”

“In the Select Subcommittee’s probe of federally funded research, testimony and document reviewed by Select Subcommittee Democrats raise serious concerns that EcoHealth Alliance disregarded federal reporting requirements that ensure grantees are accountable to the American people,” added the spokesperson.

As with other congressional investigations, the report left many wondering if there would be accountability after Daszak’s feet were held to the fire.

Kevin Haggerty

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