NIAID Director Prevented from Testifying Before Congress
On May 1, 2020, a spokesperson for the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee indicated that White House officials had prevented the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, from testifying before the sub-committee on labor, health and human services, education and related agencies. The spokesperson claimed:
"The Appropriations Committee sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week's Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying."
That claim was disputed by White House officials, one of whom told reporters that the Trump Administration was "open" to having Dr. Fauci testify, but needed more information about the sub-committee hearing to "determine if he [is] the best guest or if it [is] someone else's jurisdiction." However, subsequent statements from the White House suggest that the administration would not allow any officials to testify, at least at the current time. For example, White House spokesperson Judd Deere said:
"While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counterproductive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at congressional hearings. We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time.”