House Democrats Request Interviews With These 11 Trump Officials Over ’88 Incidents of Political Interference’ in Covid Response

 
Rep James Clyburn listens to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis

Michael A. McCoy, Pool/Getty Images

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis has issued a statement and a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky naming 11 former Trump officials over what they say are “more than 88 incidents of political interference” by the administration in the public pandemic response.

The committee, chaired by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, announced the expansion of their probe into the pandemic response in a Monday morning release.

“Today, Chairman James E. Clyburn and all Democratic Members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis advanced their investigations into the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic by requesting documents and transcribed interviews from three former Trump Administration political appointees and eight current and former public health officials who were involved in the prior Administration’s failed response efforts,” the statement reads.

The committee cites the number of incidences of political interference they say were identified by staff analysis, which documented “at least 88 incidents of the Trump Administration’s political interference in the coronavirus response,” a number which includes 27 the committee identified in December of last year.

In the letter to Secretary Becerra and Dr. Walensky, the Democrats expand on that point.

To date, the Select Subcommittee has identified at least 88 instances in which Trump Administration officials injected politics into public health decisions—including attempting to alter, delay, or block the release of scientific reports and guidance on the coronavirus, pressuring public health experts to adopt politically motivated talking points that downplayed the threat of the virus and conflicted with science, and seeking to retaliate against public health officials who provided truthful information to the public. These incidents degraded every major facet of the prior Administration’s public health response and severely hindered the country’s ability to respond effectively to the pandemic.

The committee’s statement also references an email, released today (PDF), “containing additional evidence that high-ranking Trump Administration appointees, including former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, may have instructed career CDC staff to conceal evidence of political interference.”

The statement lists the names of each of the individuals with whom the committee is seeking interviews, and includes links to the individual letters constituting those requests.

Those names are:
• Amanda Campbell, former Deputy Chief of Staff, CDC
• Kyle McGowan, former Chief of Staff, CDC
• Nina Witkofsky, former Acting Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, CDC
• Dr. Nancy Messonnier, former Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC
• Dr. Anne Schuchat, former Principal Deputy Director, CDC
• Jay Butler, Deputy Director of Infectious Diseases, CDC
• Christine Casey, Editor, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC
• Kate Galatas, Deputy Director for Communications, CDC
• Bill Hall, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS
• Michael Iademarco, Director of Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, CDC
• Mark Weber, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS

Below, read the letter from Rep. Clyburn and the select committee to Secretary Becerra and Dr. Walensky, embedded as a PDF. Click here to read the committee press release and statement online.

Select Subcommittee Letter to Becerra and Walensky re Interview Requests 7-26-21 by Caleb Mediaite on Scribd


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