Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins reportedly protested former President Donald Trump’s order to cancel virus research money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) connected to the Wuhan Lab, according to a book to be released June 29 by Washington Post reporters.
The book excerpts first reported by Fox News portray Fauci opposing canceling money funneled through EcoHealth Alliance to the Wuhan Institute of Virology but “reluctantly agreed” to terminate the balance of the 2020 grant money totaling $369,819.
When Fauci was asked in a House Energy & Commerce Hearing in June 2020, he claimed he did not know the reason why the money was canceled. But the book asserts Fauci did know.
“Why was it canceled?” Fauci clarified, “It was canceled because the NIH was told to cancel it.”
Fauci said at the time, “I don’t know the reason, but we were told to cancel it.”
Meanwhile, federal government investigators launched a probe June 15 into how the NIH “manages and monitors” its ongoing grant program to foreign labs, such as the Wuhan lab Fauci indirectly funded.
The investigation is likely to encompass Peter Daszak, the man responsible for steering U.S. government grant money to the Wuhan lab, and who thanked Fauci in April 2020 for publicly dismissing the theory coronavirus may have leaked from the lab, emails revealed.
Fauci defended himself against the “misconstrued” June 3 email, stating, “That email was from a person to me saying ‘thank you’ for whatever it is he thought I said, and I said that I think the most likely origin is a jumping of species.”
The NIH’s website stated, “Approximately 80% of NIH funding goes to support research grants, including grants to foreign organizations.”
The following details depict the presumable conflict between Fauci and Collins had with Trump’s “direct order”:
With questions swirling about the origins of COVID-19—experts had determined that the virus was not man-made but could not rule out that it might have slipped out of a lab—the NIH had gone to the principal study investigator on April 19 and asked that payments be halted to the subcontractor in Wuhan until it had more answers.
A few days later, the relatively small grant had garnered new attention…On the afternoon of April 24, NIH director Francis Collins and Fauci received notice that Trump wanted to formally announce in a 5:00 p.m. press conference that the grant had been terminated.”
Collins and Fauci told the White House and [the Department of Health and Human Services] that they were not sure the NIH actually had the authority to terminate a peer-reviewed grant in the middle of a budget cycle. The HHS general counsel told them to do it anyway and made clear it was a direct order from the president, implying that their jobs were on the line if they didn’t comply. Fauci and Collins reluctantly agreed to cancel the grant.
“What do you mean?” Staley asked. “You can’t cancel a grant like this.”
“What do you want me to do?” Fauci said.
“Can’t you and Collins threaten to resign over this?” Staley suggested.
“You want us both to resign over a $3.7 million grant?” Fauci snapped back.
“Staley instantly backed down. ‘You’re right, you’re right,’ he said. ‘That’s not what you resign over.’”
(Collins and Fauci heard from many members of the scientific community that they should have resigned. The HHS general counsel later found that the agency probably had not had the authority to terminate the grant. NIH had to reinstate the grant but stopped all of its funding.)
The book is titled, Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History.