The vows to investigate Dr. Anthony Fauci and other U.S. officials did not affect Fauci’s decision to step down, the doctor said on Aug. 23.
“Really, none at all. Not even a slight amount. I have nothing to hide. And I can defend everything I’ve done. So that doesn’t phase me or bother me. My decisions of stepping down go back well over a year,” Fauci said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Fauci announced on Monday that he will leave his three government positions in December.
Fauci directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and has been the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden since the president took office.
Fauci, 81, has been employed by the government since 1984.
Republicans have vowed to investigate U.S. funding for the top-level laboratory in Wuhan, China, and other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic if they flip the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both, in the upcoming midterm elections.
Fauci’s agency funded the lab through a subaward. The lab is located in the same city where the first COVID-19 cases appeared. Fauci has claimed the lab did not perform gain-of-function experiments or research aimed at increasing the transmissibility and/or pathogenicity of a pathogen or virus, but such experiments were performed there, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has confirmed. Fauci’s agency is an office inside the NIH.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), in line to become chair of the House Oversight Committee, said on Fox News after the resignation announcement that Fauci “has done everything he can to obstruct any type of investigation” into the origins of COVID-19.
Comer said he believes Fauci is stepping down because the evidence indicates COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab.
Fauci said Tuesday that he decided to leave the government some time ago, but chose to stay on because Biden asked him to be his chief medical adviser. On MSNBC after his announcement, he also said that “you have to leave sometime” and that he wants to “pursue another chapter in my career.”
The doctor, who has answered questions before congressional committees, said he will consider testifying to lawmakers in the future.
“Sure, I certainly would consider that. But you got to remember, I believe oversight is a very important part of government structure. And I welcome it and can be productive. But what has happened up until now is more of a character assassination than it is oversight,” he said on CNN. “So, sure, I would be happy to cooperate, so long as we make it something that says dignified oversight, which it should be. And not just bringing up ridiculous things and attacking my character. That’s not oversight.”