Report: House Democrats Will Investigate Claims Trump Officials Interfered with CDC COVID-19 Reports

Sep 14, 2020
In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Democrats have opened an investigation into appointed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials interfered with scientific reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about COVID-19, following a report from Politico.

In a letter first shared with Politico, House Democrats, including Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who chairs the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield for documents related to the report, as well as President Trump admitting to downplaying the coronavirus, as reported in Bob Woodward's new book, "Rage."

"With nearly 200,000 Americans killed and hundreds more dying each day from the coronavirus pandemic, the public needs and deserves truthful scientific information so they can keep themselves and their families healthy," the letter, which was signed by 6 other members of Congress, including Reps. Maxine Waters and Carolyn Maloney.

The letter read, "we are gravely concerned by reports showing that the President’s political appointees at HHS have sought to help him downplay the risks of the coronavirus crisis by attempting to alter, delay, and block critical scientific reports from CDC."

Citing Politico's report, the group of Democrats are specifically seeking information about CDC reports published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): "Secretary Azar and other officials were apparently concerned this report 'was implying that the Trump administration moved too slowly to respond to the outbreak.'"

According to emails obtained by Politico, senior HHS advisor Paul Alexander wrote to Redfield and others that "reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous. Its lunacy."

The letter concludes with a request for "voluntary" interviews with a number of individuals, including Alexander, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the HHS Michael Caputo, and Nina Witkofsky the Acting Chief of Staff of the CDC.