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White House Denies Congressional Request For Dr. Anthony Fauci's Testimony

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, left, speaks as Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx looks on during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19,  at the White House in March.
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, left, speaks as Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx looks on during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House in March.

Updated at 12:21 p.m. on May 2

The White House will not allow the leading immunologist on the coronavirus task force to testify to Congress next week, calling the request "counter-productive" to the administration's efforts to contain the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci's testimony had been requested by the House Appropriations Committee, as part of an investigation into the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A committee spokesman on Friday said the White House had blocked the doctor from appearing before the panel.

"The Appropriations Committee sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week's Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying," spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement.

Fauci has become one of the most well recognized experts in the administration's coronavirus response team, often speaking publicly during task force briefings, and at times, seeming to contradict statements made by President Trump.

A White House official said: "We expressed openness from the White House to having him testify but requested we be given the parameters of what the hearing would entail so we could determine if he was the best guess or if it was someone else's jurisdiction."

The official said the chair didn't follow up, adding: "If this was truly a serious effort to have someone testify on the appropriations need around coronavirus, they certainly didn't handle it like it was."

On Friday, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that the administration was "committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time."

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