Senator Ron Johnson has raised serious concerns regarding the potential destruction or removal of crucial records concerning the origins of COVID-19, urging an interview with a prominent health official and prompting scrutiny of record practices within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Johnson, expressing deep concern, demanded access to Dr. David Morens, a former aide to Dr. Anthony Fauci, insisting on an interview between Morens and his staff. He raised apprehensions about possible intentional removal or destruction of records related to the origins of COVID-19 by HHS officials. The Senator referenced a June 17, 2021 email by Morens to colleagues discussing Senator Johnson’s request for NIH documents handling COVID-19, where Morens seemed to ensure he retained no documents that might lead to similar document requests by others.
Highlighting the email’s content, Johnson inferred that Morens might have purposefully deleted or destroyed records, impeding the oversight efforts concerning the pandemic. Additionally, Morens’ record-keeping practices have also come under scrutiny from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, leading to a subpoena being issued.
Senator Johnson demanded an interview with Morens by December 6, seeking access to text messages from Morens’ HHS-issued cellphone dating from June 1, 2019, and emails from his Gmail account. He further pressed for a comprehensive explanation from HHS on how they plan to hold Dr. Morens accountable and reiterated his request for HHS-related documents pertaining to the pandemic’s origins, initially made in June 2021 and March 2023.
Johnson had previously urged the HHS watchdog, Christi Grimm, to probe into Morens’ actions and the document situation. Coinciding with his recent letter to Secretary Becerra, Johnson reiterated his call to Grimm for a thorough investigation.
Morens’ actions came under scrutiny due to emails where he expressed intentions to communicate via Gmail to avoid constant FOIA requests on his NIH email and allegedly restricted discussions on COVID-19 origins per directives from HHS and the White House. Johnson, serving as the ranking member of the permanent Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, has intensified pressure on HHS, setting a deadline for compliance with his demands by December 6.
Seeking to shed light on these concerns, The Post reached out to an HHS spokesperson for comment, intensifying the scrutiny on record practices and communication regarding COVID-19 origins within the HHS.