House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said that Republicans had invited Dr. Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but without the approval of the speaker their hearing had no subpoena power to compel them to testify.
Scalise is a ranking member on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. He said he asked Chairman Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., about holding a hearing on the origin of the virus, and Clyburn declined.
“Perplexingly, Speaker Pelosi has refused to allow a single hearing – calling it a ‘diversion.’ As the American people will hear today from our expert witnesses, this is far from a diversion,” Scalise said in his opening remarks.
Pelosi’s office has pushed back, saying that the House is indeed investigating the origin of the coronavirus.
“Perhaps if Republicans were actually interested in real answers, they would remember that the House Intelligence Committee is reviewing the intelligence on this matter in addition to the Biden administration’s own review,” Pelosi spokesperson Henry Connelly said in a statement.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said that Fauci “didn’t have the courage” to “come defend himself” at the hearing.
“I’m convinced these guys knew right from the get-go what the truth was and they misled the American people,” Jordan claimed, citing a slew of Fauci emails made public in early June.
“He showed up everywhere for a year and a half. You couldn’t go a day and not see Dr. Fauci somewhere, he was everywhere and now when we have emails… all this evidence suddenly you can’t find him.”
Scalise called on the House to take up the COVID-19 Origin Act, which unanimously passed the Senate in May but has not yet been brought up for a vote in the lower chamber. The bill would compel the director of national intelligence to declassify “any and all information” about potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and COVID-19.
Brett Giroir, who served as former President Trump’s coronavirus testing czar, testified to the committee that the “most likely origin” of the virus was an accidental leak from the lab. He called for a transparent investigation to determine whether the NIH had funded “directly or indirectly” dangerous gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab that was being done on bat coronaviruses.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., said it was “long past time to completely decouple scientific collaborations with the Chinese Communist Party.”
“We have plenty of like-minded allies and partners not engaged in genocide nor threatening their neighbors with invasion to collaborate with.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.