According to a partial transcript released by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Dr. Charlotte Kent, Chief of the Scientific Publications Branch and Editor-in-Chief of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) at CDC, testified that she believes the deletion of the email was ordered by CDC Director Robert Redfield.
Kent’s testimony raises “serious concern about what may be deliberate efforts by the Trump administration to conceal and destroy evidence that senior political appointees interfered with career officials’ response to the coronavirus crisis,” Clyburn said.
“I went to look for it after I had been told to delete it, and it was already gone,” Kent said during her testimony, saying that she has “no idea” who deleted the email, and that she found the incident to be “very unusual.”
Kent added that this type of email would “typically” have been retained.
At the time, Caputo explained to CNBC that his Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs reserved the right to clear “virtually all public facing documents for all of its divisions, including CDC.”
“Our intention is to make sure that evidence, science-based data drives policy through this pandemic—not ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of CDC,” he added. The CDC falls under the responsibility of HHS.
In a statement, HHS accused Clyburn’s committee of failing to operate “in good faith,” and branded the federal agency’s portrayal of Kent’s testimony as “irresponsible.”
A statement from the CDC director was also released by HHS. Redfield asserted that he did not order employees to delete the email but said he asked them to ignore it.
"As I testified before Congress, I am fully committed to maintaining the independence of the MMWR, and I stand by that statement," Redfield said in his statement referring to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“Our investigation revealed that a CDC official was told to destroy an email revealing political interference from Trump Administration appointees,” it added. “We will not allow this Administration to continue to obstruct oversight and delay the release of accurate scientific information.”
The CDC and HHS didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by The Epoch Times.