Psaki to Doocy: Team Biden Won’t ‘Stand by’ and Allow ‘Attacks’ on Fauci Over His E-Mails

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki continued on Friday afternoon to show an aversion to discussing the thousands of published e-mails from Dr. Tony Fauci, repeatedly declining to elaborate on them during Friday’s press briefing. Speaking to Fox’s Peter Doocy, Psaki insisted that, while Fauci can speak for himself, the Biden administration “wouldn’t stand by” while “attacks” are “launched” against him.

Doocy started his Friday Q&A on the subject of a congressional or presidential commission to look at “the initial U.S. response to COVID-19,” but all Psaki would commit to would be the administration’s 90-day review of the intelligence regarding the origins of the virus.

He then asked about concerns that National Institutes of Health officials “were trying to suppress” information about the virus early last year (click “expand”):

DOOCY: Mike Pompeo is now saying that when he was the Secretary of State and he was trying to investigate the origins of COVID-19 there, the NIH folks were trying to suppress what he was doing. So, is there any concern from the White House that there may have been people at the NIH who are making policy decisions based not in science, but based on their personal political beliefs or preferences?

PSAKI: Well, I really don’t have any analysis of the last administration’s inter-working-

DOOCY: But a lot of people are still over there and you see how they operate.

PSAKI: Here’s what we know, Peter. We know that Dr. Fauci and many members of the NIH team, medical and science experts, because of their work over the last 10 years, we have developed a focus and effort and apparatus to fight this pandemic, and we are grateful to them for their work. Everybody wants to get to the bottom of the origin. Former secretary Pompeo, President Biden, Democrats and Republicans across the board. We all share a concern about the challenge, and that is the intransigence, at times, by the Chinese in providing data and providing information. We share agreement on that. We all want to get to the bottom of what happened here.

Since Psaki invoked Fauci first, Doocy used that opening to pivot to his e-mails and, after acknowledging Fauci “had his hands full at the time trying to figure out what to do,” the doctor seemed to have been “saying one thing in e-mail and then coming to this microphone and saying something else.”

“If that is the case, and if that affected the U.S. policy posture at the time, should he be held accountable,” wondered Doocy.

Psaki initially reiterated her comments to Doocy’s colleague Jacqui Heinrich from a day earlier that Fauci had done “several interviews…answering questions on these e-mails and questions that you all may have” and that he’s “a renowned…career civil servant.”

She then decried the analyses of these e-mails, calling them “attacks” that “are certainly something we wouldn’t stand by” despite there being “interest in the e-mails.”

Asked to explain whether she meant the “attacks” to be political in nature, Psaki reupped her Thursday strategy of acting as though they’re ancient history.

Doocy’s penultimate question sought a definition of Biden’s “position on gain-of-function research,” but Psaki offered little more than word salad and passed the buck to NIH.

His final question about Fauci’s future was one that Psaki seemed less than pleased with, which led her to move to the next reporter:

DOOCY: And just since you mentioned Dr. Fauci again, can you imagine any circumstance where President Biden would ever fire him?

PSAKI: No.

To see the relevant briefing transcript from June 4, click “expand.”

White House Press Briefing (via ABC News Live)
June 4, 2021
2:11 p.m. Eastern

PETER DOOCY: Would the President support a commission to investigate the initial U.S. response to COVID-19?

JEN PSAKI: A commission in Congress?

DOOCY: Or a presidential commission?

PSAKI: I would say if members of Congress have a discussion and want to have a discussion about that, we’re happy to hear from them, but our focus right now, as you know, Peter, is on our own internal investigation or our internal process, I should say, using all of the resources of government, tapping into our data and science experts to see what more we can determine over the next 90 days or less than 90 days about the origins of the pandemic.

DOOCY: Mike Pompeo is now saying that when he was the Secretary of State and he was trying to investigate the origins of COVID-19 there, the NIH folks were trying to suppress what he was doing. So is there any concern from the White House that there may have been people at the NIH who are making policy decisions based not in science, but based on their personal political beliefs or preferences?

PSAKI: Well, I really don’t have any analysis of the last administration’s inter-working-

DOOCY: But a lot of people are still over there and you see how they operate.

PSAKI: Here’s what we know, Peter. We know that Dr. Fauci and many members of the NIH team, medical and science experts, because of their work over the last 10 years, we have developed a focus and effort and apparatus to fight this pandemic, and we are grateful to them for their work. Everybody wants to get to the bottom of the origin. Former secretary Pompeo, President Biden, Democrats and Republicans across the board. We all share a concern about the challenge, and that is the intransigence, at times, by the Chinese in providing data and providing information. We share agreement on that. We all want to get to the bottom of what happened here.

DOOCY: And you mentioned Dr. Fauci. There have been these e-mails that have come out through a FOIA request that make it seem like we knew that he had his hands full at the time trying to figure out what to do. But it seems like there were times that he was saying one thing in e-mail and then coming to this microphone and saying something else. If that is the case, and if that affected the U.S. policy posture at the time, should he be held accountable?

PSAKI: Well, I’ve talked a little bit about Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Fauci has been out doing several interviews himself and answering questions on these e-mails and questions that you all may have. Dr. Fauci is a renowned public servant, a civil servant, I should say, career civil servant. He’s overseen the management of multiple global health crises, and attacks — and — and attacks launched on him are certainly something we wouldn’t stand by. I understand there’s interest in the e-mails. He’s answered a lot of questions on the e-mails. I don’t think I’m going to have much more to add on them from here.

DOOCY: Do you think the attacks are political against Dr. Fauci?

PSAKI: I’m going to let Dr. Fauci speak to his own defense of his e-mails from 17 months ago before this President even took office.

DOOCY: Okay and then finally, does President Biden have a position on gain-of-function research?

PSAKI: Well, we have not — as Dr. Fauci has actually said repeatedly, we’ve never approved any funding for gain-of-function research in Wuhan. I know that’s I think why you’re asking the question. I believe some may have been approved or there was funding approved during the prior administration. There’s a framework I should say. This is not meant to be a criticism of funding and how it’s approved through different NIH programs, but I would send you to them to give more of an explanation of the funding mechanisms.

DOOCY: And just since you mentioned Dr. Fauci again, can you imagine any circumstance where President Biden would ever fire him?

PSAKI: No.

View Original Source Source