Congressional investigators released emails and documents on Friday showing that the individuals appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services under former President Donald Trump regularly brag about wanting to change the scientists on the staff. Reports on the coronavirus.
Officials tried Rewrite the weekly scientific reports to read Trump could use the data to support his political positions According to emails released on Friday by the House Select subcommittee on coronavirus about wearing masks and reopening the economy.
“Our investigation has shown that Trump administration officials have made an ongoing pattern of political interference in the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic, overcoming and bullying scientists, and making harmful decisions that allowed the virus to spread faster,” said the chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. James Clyburn, DS.C.
Clyburn accused former White House adviser to Covid-19, Dr. Scott Atlas to advocate “guidelines that would allow the virus to spread widely among many Americans.”
Documents received by the panel indicate that Atlas “was aware of and may have attacked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) efforts to justify President Trump’s reopening efforts,” Clyburn said.
Atlas and other policy makers within HHS managed to change the language and sway the tone of the CDC’s weekly reports on morbidity and mortality, which provide weekly public updates on results from scientists. found the panel. MMWRs are data-based scientific studies that are normally not exposed to political pressure.
The investigation first opened after reports surfaced that Trump was demanding the right to amend the CDC’s reports. The emails show Trump administration officials bragging about changing the reports.
“Small win, but still a win and yippee !!!” Former science advisor Paul Alexander wrote in an email on September 9 that then HHS chief public affairs officer Michael Caputo should know that he managed to get the opening line of a CDC report on the transmission of Covid- 19 to change for schoolchildren.
Just two days later, Alexander asked Atlas for help with the change Another CDC report on Covid-19 deaths among young people that Alexander said was “slated for election” to keep schools closed.
“Can you help me make a comment?” Wrote Alexander to Atlas. “Let’s advise the president and get permission to please prevent this as it runs for the weekend so we need to cushion the edge as it is misleading.”
Earlier this month, Alexander asked Atlas to draft another statement to oppose Masks for children and school closings during the pandemic.
“I think a short 400 word word will help people go back to school. I think locking our children (and healthy adults) and masking them can dull their functioning immune systems. Believe this is done can be ?? “Alexander wrote in an email dated September 3rd.
Alexander said in a July 4th email released by Clyburn’s investigators in December, “We want them to be infected” when advocating a herd immunity strategy.
When Atlas pushed for the same strategy in the fall, he wrote, “Universities should stay open even if they see an increase in cases … Yes, cases in young people will increase as they interact socially, but it shouldn’t Be the reason for it. ” Panic, “echo of dangerous herd immunity theories, in a comment posted on Sept. 15. A draft of this article was first edited and revised by Alexander according to an email dated September 8th.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief physician to the president, previously rejected the idea of spreading the coronavirus in order to achieve herd immunity as dangerous “nonsense” last fall.
“Dr. Fauci has no data, no science to back what he says about reopening the school, no … he is wrongly scaring the nation,” Alexander wrote to senior HHS officials last summer, claiming Fauci scared parents.
In another example, Trump officials tried to camouflage Covid-19 case Numbers with other statistics to fuel political conversation.
“I know the president wants us to count the economic costs of not opening up. We need solid estimates to say something: 50,000 more cancer deaths! 40,000 more heart attacks! 25,000 more suicides!” Caputo wrote to Alexander on May 16 E-mail. “You need to take possession of these numbers. This is especially important for what you and I are trying to achieve,” added Caputo in a follow-up email.
After the Trump White House named Nina Witkofsky as acting CDC chief of staff last summer, Alexander appeared pleased with her influence on the agency.
“The last two MMWR reports have been more positive than usual, and I think [that] encouraging, “wrote Alexander in an August 3rd email to Witkofsky.” Maybe you have a huge impact and that is huge. Well done!”
In further e-mails, Alexander has continuously touted his influence on the agency’s reports. In another example, Alexander bragged about changes to the “key opening sentence” of a report of a Covid outbreak at a summer camp in Georgia.
The line highlighted the importance of understanding youth transmission in order to develop guidelines for the school. That line has been removed and replaced with another line that stated that there was “limited data” on the transmission of coronavirus in people under the age of 21. The CDC said the line had been removed and replaced due to “thoughtful comments” from Alexander and CDC leaders.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC director at the time, said last year that the reports released by the agency had not been subject to political interference. “At no point has the scientific integrity of the MMWR been compromised. And I can say that under my observation it is not compromised,” Redfield testified to the Senate last September.
However, Redfield told news outlets last month that Trump officials had repeatedly tried to change MMWRs they didn’t like, according to the Washington Post. Then-HHS Secretary Alex Azar denied the charges.
Congressional investigators are looking for additional documents from agents involved in the emails and others.
Alexander and Atlas did not immediately respond to a request for comment.