Rand Paul says email exchange between top Fauci aide and EcoHealth ‘looks like a cover-up’

Newly released emails between a top colleague of Dr. Anthony Fauci and the president of a non-governmental organization being funded to conduct coronavirus research in Wuhan, China, said the group had over 700 identified but un-sequenced coronaviruses in its lab when its government grant was first pulled in 2020.

On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., highlighted a series of email exchanges between Fauci’s top adviser, Dr. David Morens, and EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak that showed Daszak feared permanently losing government funding.

An April 2020 email from Morens alleged that Fauci was “fully aware” and “involved in some sort of damage control,” possibly to help keep EcoHealth from losing its federal grant.

Paul said in an interview with Fox News Digital that the emails show “they all realize that if Fauci’s been funding Daszak for years through EcoHealth, and if it looks like they’re implicated in the pandemic, this wouldn’t be good for Fauci or EcoHealth.”


Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in Chinas Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Security personnel gather near the entrance of the Wuhan Institute of Virology during a visit by the World Health Organization team in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

It is unclear exactly what “damage control” Morens was referring to. In April 2020, the Trump administration and the National Institute of Health (NIH) ended EcoHealth’s grant, but that decision was reversed, and they still get funding to this day. 

The email from Daszak also claimed the organization was in possession of more than 15,000 samples at the lab in Wuhan.

Fauci Rand Paul

Dr. Anthony Fauci, left, and Senator Rand Paul. (Photo by GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images | Photographer: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fauci continued to publicly push to discredit theories of a potential lab leak that could have initiated COVID-19 as this information was relayed from EcoHealth. 

Paul said the new email revelations are “important” because they add more color and context between Fauci and EcoHealth’s public message “shaping” about its gain-of-function research and their private “concerns.”

“One of the main arguments that Fauci and others make is that there is no published virus that could have been COVID or manipulated to become COVID,” Paul explained.


U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky. (REUTERS/Nathan Howard)

“That may or may not be true. But the thing is, is that if there were 6 or 700 of these that are in the library or waiting to be sequenced, there’s a possibility COVID-19 was one of those, or something similar to COVID-19 was one of the viruses and was manipulated in the lab,” Paul said, referring to the “700 unknown viruses” Daszak referenced in the emails. 

It’s important that as this information comes out, we find out all of the things that was known at that time,” Paul said, adding that in private, Fauci was “very concerned” about gain-of-function research in Wuhan. 

Howerver, he said, “the concern privately is much different than publicly where they tried to shape the message,” referencing Fauci’s public comments that the virus had to have originated in nature and not a lab.  

“To a lot of us looking at it, it looks like a cover-up,” Paul said. 


Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, then-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, attends a White House press briefing to speak about the coronavirus on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

It is unclear whether Morens is still employed with NIH. Paul said his office has made several attempts to learn his employment status, but NIH has not given him a response. 

In an April 12 press release, EcoHealth responded to news reports on emails apparently obtained via a whistleblower and released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, claiming that any allegations that communications between EcoHealth and NIH were “inappropriate” or “part of a cover-up” are “false.” Included in those tranches of emails were the ones Paul pointed to on Tuesday.

“[T]hey show clearly that EcoHealth Alliance was appropriately communicating with senior staff at the NIH, or who formerly worked at NIH, to try to identify ways to reinstate a grant that had been terminated unexpectedly and arbitrarily, then suspended with onerous conditions,” EcoHealth said in a statement. 

“The grant was subsequently reinstated by NIH, and EcoHealth Alliance is currently working under this grant to conduct critical scientific research to prevent future pandemics,” it said. 

On April 16, the Select Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio., subpoenaed Morens for additional correspondence related to COVID-19 from Morens’ personal Gmail account, alleging he used the private account to evade FOIA laws.

“Dr. David Morens purposefully evaded FOIA laws to give his ‘best-friend’ EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak non-public, internal information that had the potential to undermine the operations of the United States government. This is not only highly concerning, but it is also likely illegal,” Wenstrup said in a press release.

“The subpoena for Dr. Morens’s personal email communication will ensure that the truth about this federal records violation is brought to light,” he said.


Morens has agreed to testify in front of the select subcommittee at a public hearing later this year, the press release said.

The NIH, EcoHealth, Fauci, Daszak and Morens did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment. 

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