Fauci probe all but certain if GOP retakes House OR Senate in midterms

Like COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci seems in no hurry to go away. But, as one of the leading spokespersons for mandates and lockdowns has hinted at his exit strategy congressional Republicans have made clear “one way or another” he will answer for his decisions.

Despite gaining seats in the Senate during the 2018 election, Republicans lost control of the House that midterm cycle and so, when the pandemic swept the nation in early 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) maintained a stranglehold on the legislative response and oversight. Now, as the GOP sets its sights on bicameral victories, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is recommitting to his promise to hold Fauci accountable.

Should the Republicans at least gain the majority in the Senate, Paul will replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) as ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, pointing him in line to become chair.

With that position, Paul declared, “One way or another, if we are in the majority, we will subpoena his records and he will testify in the Senate under oath,” according to The Hill.

The Kentucky lawmaker has remained consistent on this position and said much the same in February during an interview, “If we win November, if I’m chairman of a committee, if I have subpoena power, we’ll go after every one of [Fauci’s] records. We’ll have an investigator go through this piece-by-piece because we don’t need this to happen again.”

“You know, I think the dirty little secret is it’s always been more about submission,” he asserted. “It’s always been more about collectivism. It’s been about growing government power over your lives because the science has been clear for a long time on masks for children. Sweden didn’t have their school kids wear masks at all. Not one child died.”

Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association has stood in favor of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the pandemic and our response, but cautioned about the approach.

“If you want to have a hearing, you need it to be a credible one,” Benjamin said. “And that has to have a purpose. Other than going out to an 81-year-old man.”

“It should be designed to actually get to the right answers. Until they do that, you know, they’re going to continue to politicize it,” he added.

Fauci, who recently flip-flopped on the potential origin of the virus and acknowledged it may have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, made sure to frame any future subpoenas issued to him as political in nature when he announced he would be stepping down as director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases by the end of President Joe Biden’s term.

“They’re going to try and come after me, anyway. I mean, probably less so if I’m not in the job. I don’t make that a consideration in my career decision,” he claimed before going on to add, “I don’t think they can say anything about the science. If that’s what you want to investigate, be my guest. My telling somebody that it’s important to follow fundamental good public health practices … what are you going to investigate about that?”

However, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who has also vowed to have an investigation when Republicans regain the majority, has made clear what facts would be looked into, and it has everything to do with what Fauci knew and when he knew it.

“If the American people put us back in charge, we are definitely going to do this because we now know without a doubt that Dr. Fauci knew on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 that this thing came from a lab,” Jordan claimed during a January interview. “The top scientists in the country were saying it came from a lab. One scientist says–we got the notes now from the conference call on February 1–one scientist says, ‘I don’t see how this can happen in nature, but it would be easy to do in a lab.”

“And yet, just in a matter of days,” he went on, “they changed their position, write the article that appears in Nature of Medicine Magazine, which then gets cited in the now famous letter in The Lancet, which became the gospel for the fact that Fauci can go out and tell people it didn’t come from a lab when in fact they knew it did.”

Be that as it may, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health health communication scholar Rupali Limaye cautioned against a partisan investigation, “I do think that public officials should be held responsible, you should be able to question and think critically about the recommendations that they have made, but it’s also a slippery slope.”

“Going down this slippery slope of continuing to have investigation after investigation after investigation is not in the best interest of anyone,” she added and, while that may be true of sham investigations like that of the Jan. 6 committee, assuring that the government never again usurps the rights of Americans with devastating ramifications for the nation is, in fact, in the best interest of many.

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Kevin Haggerty

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