01:21 GMT22 June 2021
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    Thousands of pandemic-era emails authored by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US' leading infectious disease expert, were released this week via Freedom of Information Act requests. The emails have provided a behind-the-scenes look at Fauci's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have led to further questions from GOP lawmakers.

    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki came to Fauci's defense on Friday, highlighting Fauci's decades-long career as reasoning for the administration's pushback. 

    "Dr. Fauci is a renowned career civil servant," Psaki told reporters. "He’s overseen [the] management of multiple global health crises, and attacks launched on him are certainly something we wouldn't stand by." 

    In addition to his role as director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci has also served as a public health adviser to every US president since Ronald Reagan.

    Within his career, the immunologist has been at the forefront of the US response to a number of viral diseases: HIV/AIDS, SARS, swine flu, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19.  

    "Can you imagine any circumstance where President Biden would ever fire him?" asked Fox News reporter Peter Doocey during Psaki's Friday news briefing.

    "No," Psaki swiftly replied, before going to another reporter's question. 

    The White House stance falls in line with same-day remarks from US President Joe Biden. 

    "I'm very confident in Dr. Fauci," the US president said of his chief medical adviser earlier Friday. 

    Overall, BuzzFeed obtained some 3,200 pages of emails from Fauci's inbox, while The Washington Post received 860 pages of emails.   

    Several GOP lawmakers have raised concerns over Fauci after parsing through his emails to colleagues, fellow scientists, average Americans and government officials.

    House Republican Whip Member Steve Scalise (R-LA), ranking member of the House Select Subcommittee on the COVID-19 Crisis, has called on House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) to call Fauci to a hearing.

    "His emails debunk many Democrats' claims from the past year that he and other administration scientists were 'muzzled' by the Trump administration," Scalise wrote, referring to a now-public email from Fauci to Mark Shlomchik, chair of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Immunology. 

    "I have been very explicit in stating publicly that I am not being muzzled or censored," Fauci wrote. "I say exactly what I want to say based on scientific evidence."

    Another vocal critic of Fauci has been Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has also introduced the 'Fire Fauci Act,' legislation seeking to, in part, audit the immunologist's financial statement and correspondence within the Office of the Director amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    The proposed legislation claims that "Fauci has continually failed to provide Americans with accurate information about the COVID–19 pandemic and has shown distrust in the American private sector and American ingenuity."


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