• February 4, 2023

House Democrats Renew Investigation Into Trump COVID-19 Response : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

The Head of House Supervision, Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C., renews an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images hide subtitles

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Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images

The Head of House Supervision, Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C., renews an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images

Updated at 10:54 a.m. ET

House Democrats are re-examining how the Trump administration handled the coronavirus crisis, citing new documents and evidence of political interference in the government’s response to the virus.

The Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C., sent letters to the Chief of Staff of the White House, Ron Klain and Acting Secretary for Health and Human Services Norris Cochran Information about the investigation and additional evidence. Clyburn quotes one internal HHS email He says it is providing details on efforts to end asymptomatic infection testing because of concerns that people who test positive would quarantine and stifle the economy.

The letter particularly focuses on allegations that Trump administrative adviser Dr. Paul Alexander tried to suppress scientific data and pressured members of the Coronavirus Task Force of the White House to change public information.

“The previous government refused to cooperate with the Select Subcommittee investigations. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) blocked documents and witnesses related to the politicization of public health information, testing and supply shortages, development and distribution of Vaccines and other critical aspects of the nation’s viral response, “wrote Clyburn. “Documents recently received from the Select Subcommittee raise further questions about political interference in the coronavirus response during the previous administration.”

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The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Committee Democrats also quote Emails between Alexander and former Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Michael Caputo, who urges businesses to reopen based on information inconsistent with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

The letter also outlines questions about the Trump administration’s approach to herd immunity, vaccine distribution, and controversial treatments like hydroxychloroquine. The Democrats began investigating many of these issues last spring, and the letter details plan to continue that investigation.

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The House set up a selected subcommittee for the coronavirus crisis in April 2020. The bipartisan committee began the investigation last year, but the Trump administration has largely refused to cooperate with its investigation. The committee issued subpoenas for former HHS Secretary Alex Azar and then CDC Director Robert Redfield in December 2020, but those subpoenas were ignored.

The Democrats have vowed to continue their investigation into the actions of the previous administration while monitoring the ongoing response to the ongoing crisis.

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