Politics

Fauci Says He Can’t Answer Whether China Has Undue Influence Over WHO

[Twitter:Screenshot:The Recount]

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Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci refused to answer Wednesday whether China has undue influence over the World Health Organization (WHO) during a committee hearing.

“Can we agree, that if you took President Xi Jinping and turned him upside down and shook him, the World Health Organization would fall out of his pocket?” Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy pressed.

“I don’t think I can answer that question, sir,” Fauci responds while giggling. “I’m sorry.”

Kennedy then asked Fauci whether Jinping has any “undue influence over the World Health Organization.”

“I have no way of knowing the influence of the president of China over the WHO,” Fauci responded.

Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, told lawmakers in April the intelligence community has seen “indications” China has attempted to influence the WHO’s assessments on the origins of the coronavirus.

“We’ve certainly seen indications that China is trying to influence the World Health Organization’s efforts in this area,” Haines said during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

The WHO has been accused of downplaying China’s involvement in the coronavirus.

During the initial days of the outbreak, the WHO repeated China’s false claim the virus was not contracted through human-to-human transmission.

Chinese authorities allegedly refused to share raw data regarding the 174 early cases of the coronavirus with the WHO team investigating the virus’ origins, one of the scientists told The Wall Street Journal.

Chinese authorities also removed a database from public view on virus samples from a lab, NBC News reported. China also edited and approved the WHO team’s report before it was released.

The WHO team was also forced to rely on the word of Chinese scientists while making inquiries into the origins of the virus.

Peter Daszak told “60 Minutes” in a recent interview the WHO team determined the lab leak theory was “extremely unlikely” and the virus likely originated from an animal in China. Daszak later admitted during the interview the Chinese scientists the team met with said they had regularly audited the lab in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and staff members were frequently tested.

“But you’re just taking their word for it?” Leslie Stahl prodded.

“Well, what else can we do,” Daszak responded. “There’s a limit to what you can do and we went right up to that limit.”

“We asked them tough questions. They weren’t vetted in advance. And the answers they gave, we found to be believable – correct and convincing.”

The Wall Street Journal reported three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were reportedly hospitalized with an unknown infection in November of 2019, which is around the same time the virus began circulating in China.

The WHO eventually released a report that was inconclusive about the coronavirus origins. The report offered four possible explanations for the origins of the virus, noting the “introduction through a laboratory incident” was “an extremely unlikely pathway.” (RELATED: There Are A Lot Of Reasons To Be Skeptical Of WHO’s Report On COVID-19 Origins)

The lab leak theory, however, has been revived in recent days. Senior editor at The Washington Post Aaron Blake wrote in an analysis piece published Monday that the corporate media dismissed the lab leak theory mainly because former President Donald Trump pushed it hard.

Blake noted the dismissal was due in part to Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo never providing evidence to support the claims.

The Washington Post printed evidence of the lab leak theory as early as April of 2020, when opinion columnist Josh Rogin revealed the State Department warned twice in 2018 of safety and management issues at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. One of the warnings stated the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses risked setting off a new pandemic.