Dr. David Morens, the top advisor to Anthony Fauci, was blasted by the members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic for using a private email account to evade FOIA requests. The hearing took place on May 22, 2024. Democrats and Republicans also grilled Dr. Morens for asking Peter Daszak for a kickback and making misogynistic remarks about CDC Director Rochelle Walenski. This hearing happened shortly after EcoHealth Alliance and Peter Daszak were debarred from receiving government grants. This includes the dangerous, cruel experiments The HighWire reported on at Colorado State University

Dr. Morens previously testified in front of the subcommittee, and his NIH emails revealed that he asked Peter Daszak and Anthony Fauci to communicate with him using his Gmail account to evade FOIA. He said, “I try to always communicate on Gmail because my NIH email is FOIA’d constantly.” He also said, “I will delete anything I don’t want to see in the New York Times.”

The subcommittee used this communication as a basis for a subpoena of Moren’s Gmail account as it appears clear he intentionally used his private account to do official NIH business. 

After Morens assisted Daszak with the EcoHealth Alliance’s grant compliance, he asked Daszak, “Ahem… do I get a kickback???? Too much fooking money! Do you deserve it all? Let’s discuss.” Daszak followed up with “Of course there’s a kickback. It starts with 5 more years of FOIA requests (Jean Patterson told me they received a nasty phone call over a month ago when it went up on NIHReporter.gov from the person who FoIA’d our R01). just hope it doesn’t culminate in 5 years in Federal jail or even Chinese ‘re-education camp.’”

The email communication between scientists doing work with taxpayer dollars raises concerns about the work occurring at NIH. Specifically, what is Daszak doing that makes him think he might end up in federal prison? Why does Morens feel entitled to a kickback, and did Daszak give him a financial reward as the email communication suggests?

The subcommittee questioning didn’t delve into Moren’s comment about going to federal prison, but they did make him aware that the actions he describes in his email and lying in a subcommittee testimony are grounds for a criminal conviction. Rand Paul has since contacted the DOJ and suggested a criminal inquiry into Morens’ actions, but also stated he thinks Fauci is the kingpin of the operation. 

Morens responded to questioning by saying he wasn’t aware of any official business that he had done intentionally via his personal email account. This statement is despite multiple emails in which he insists the other scientists only communicate with him via Gmail to evade FOIA. When asked whether he intentionally tried to evade FOIA, Morens said he didn’t want personal discussions to be leaked to the press. 

Morens said he has been personal friends with Peter Daszak for nearly 20 years. When Daszak started getting credible death threats, Morens decided to use “dark humor” and “snarky comments” to cheer up Peter. Despite his intent to use personal email to make jokes with his group of NIH scientist friends, subcommittee members pointed out the fact that Morens official NIH signature was included in the body of all the emails in question. 

Morens claimed that a fusion of his phone email accounts caused his signature to be applied to both his professional and private accounts. Chairman Wenstrup struck back saying that is not how the fusion of email accounts works on smartphones. 

Other emails were described as using language that is “unbecoming for a person who holds a role in a public position funded by taxpayers. Morens wrote in an email that Dr. Fauci was the one who got Rochelle Walenski hired as the director of the CDC. Morens said, “Well, she does wear a skirt…I poured a little cold water on her but he was undeterred in thinking she is the cat’s pajamas.” In another email, Morens said Senator Rand Paul “probably doesn’t know how to f*%$ himself, as he clearly failed anatomy. And all the other med school subjects.”  

Morens also made several references to Fauci in his email communications with Daszak. Senator Paul is making the rounds in the media to make his case for criminal indictments against Morens and Fauci. On Fox Business, Senator Paul said, “David Morens is basically Anthony Fauci’s fixer. He’s been there with him for two decades. You can think of him as sort of Michael Cohen, Anthony Fauci’s Michael Cohen. He’s there to fix things. He’s there to keep a distance between Anthony Fauci and anything unseemly.”

Morens also claimed during his testimony that he didn’t know NIH emails were official records that should not be deleted. Senator Paul referred to Moren’s testimony as “sort of like a mob boss faking dementia.” He further stated that someone who is that incompetent should not work for a government agency like the NIH. 

Other scientists have also spoken about Morens, Fauci, Daszak’s behavior as harmful to the scientific community. Dr. Richard Ebright is a molecular biologist at Rutgers University. He said there is strong evidence that “Morens committed these crimes on behalf of, and with the knowledge, approval, and participation of, his supervisor, former NIAID Director Fauci.” 

Dr Bryce Nickels, a genetics professor at Rutgers, believes Fauci and Francis Collins “will go down in history as the architects of the NIH’s demise.” He added in another post on X that “Morens goal today appears to have been to single-handedly bring down the NIH.” 

Dr. Nickels said, “I owe my career to NIH-funded research, and I believe we owe the public much more than an apology if we hope to maintain support for publicly funded science—the public deserves accountability.” 

Members of the subcommittee slammed Morens for poorly representing the scientific community with his behavior and blamed him, in part, for the rise of vaccine hesitancy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Democratic members of the committee have called out the actions of Morens and Daszak, they have maintained that the origin of COVID-19 is unknown. They expressed that the Republican members of the committee seem keen to connect the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic to NIH funded research in Wuhan. 

Ranking committee member Raul Ruiz noted that one agency determined that the lab-leak hypothesis is the likely cause of the pandemic with moderate confidence but said several other agencies believe it had a zoonotic origin with a low level of confidence. He also made it clear to Morens that the lab-leak hypothesis should not be considered a “conspiracy theory,” as Morens stated in his email communication. 

Dr. Fauci is set to testify before the committee again on June 3. 

 

Steven Middendorp

Steven Middendorp is an investigative journalist, musician, and teacher. He has been a freelance writer and journalist for over 20 years. More recently, he has focused on issues dealing with corruption and negligence in the judicial system. He is a homesteading hobby farmer who encourages people to grow their own food, eat locally, and care for the land that provides sustenance to the community.

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