Stonewalling, Memory Lapses Mark 7-Hour Deposition
A day before Dr. Anthony Fauci was to be deposed in a federal censorship lawsuit, Missouri AG Eric Schmitt and Louisiana AG Jeff Landry distributed news releases pledging to “get answers” when questioning President Biden’s chief medical advisor.
“Tomorrow, along with my colleague from Louisiana, my office and I will depose Dr. Anthony Fauci in our lawsuit against the Biden Administration, for allegedly colluding with social media companies to censor freedom of speech,” said Schmitt, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in early November. “We plan to get answers on behalf of the American people. Stay tuned.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the powerful NIAID director, has been lionized by the establishment as “America’s doctor,” the benevolent expert guiding the nation through the ravages of the pandemic. Yet the lawsuit accuses him of colluding with ‘Big Tech’ to suppress dissent in violation of the First Amendment.
He also stands accused of shutting down legitimate theories about the pandemic’s origins that might potentially implicate him in the deaths of millions of people.
Fauci, who will step down in December, was deposed for more than seven hours last Wednesday. The transcript is not yet available and no reporters were allowed. But the attorneys general who brought the suit as well as plaintiffs in the case who were allowed to be present informally shared some vignettes, as shown below.
Landry and Schmitt filed their lawsuit in May, accusing top-ranking federal officials of pressuring social media companies to “censor and suppress free speech—including truthful information—related to Covid-19, election integrity and other topics. All under the guise of combating ‘misinformation.’”
U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty ordered Fauci and seven other officials, including former White House press secretary Jen Psaki, to testify under oath about their knowledge of the censorship.
The government succeeded in blocking some of the depositions, but efforts to cancel the depositions of Psaki and FBI official Elvis Chan failed. Chan is scheduled to answer questions next week. Psaki is scheduled to be deposed on Dec. 8.
Core Evidence: Suppression of Lab-Leak Theory
Attorneys Landry and Schmitt spent a significant portion of time during the deposition hammering away at Fauci’s alleged suppression of the “lab-leak” theory; the belief that a man-made virus created for research purposes escaped the Wuhan lab in China and led to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The attorneys claim in their brief that “Dr. Fauci, coordinating with others, orchestrated a campaign to discredit the lab-leak hypothesis in early 2020. As director of NIAID, Dr. Fauci had funded risky ‘gain-of-function’ research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through intermediaries such as EcoHealth Alliance, headed by Dr. Peter Daszak.”
“If the lab-leak theory were established,” argued the brief, “Dr. Fauci and Dr. Daszak could be potentially implicated in funding research on viruses that killed millions of people worldwide.”
A key piece of evidence in the lawsuit based on FOIA emails is a confidential phone call with scientists, coordinated by Fauci, aimed at discrediting the theory that the pandemic was the result of a lab-leak. The scientists on the phone conference went on to write a paper harshly critical of this hypothesis and all those subscribing to it.
In another key example of lab-leak censorship cited by the brief, in late January 2020 and early February 2020, Fauci was in communications with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who subsequently began to censor all posts about lab-leak speculation.
‘I Can’t Remember’
Describing Fauci’s deposition testimony which is temporarily under court seal, Landry expressed astonishment at the doctor’s apparent memory lapses about events in which he allegedly played a key role. NIAID’s director consistently stonewalled attorneys’ questioning, saying he has no clear memory of details that would shed light on his involvement in speech suppression.
“It was amazing to spend 7 hours with Dr. Fauci. The man who single-handedly wrecked the U.S. economy based upon ‘the science.’ And over the course of seven hours, we discovered that he can’t recall practically anything dealing with his Covid response,” Landry told The Epoch Times after leaving the deposition.
Landry said Fauci claimed to have no recollection of vital matters he had discussed publicly, and about which he had held press conferences for the past two and a half years. “He kept saying, ‘I can’t recall, I have no clear memory of that. I can’t remember the specifics.’”
Despite the evasion tactics, Landry said he and his co-counsel Eric Schmitt uncovered enough information during the hours of questioning to advance their case.
Two of the plaintiffs, Dr. Aaron Kheriaty and Gateway Pundit editor Jim Hoft who were present at the deposition, wrote scathing reports about their observations.
In Hoft’s assessment, “Fauci affected ignorance and vagueness of memory in order to avoid answering questions.” He also took refuge in evasiveness and balked when asked to define key words or phrases. He refused to define “gain of function” research, saying “it was too broad of a term” to define.
At the deposition, writes Hoft, “Fauci frequently lied until he was confronted with alternate facts he could not deny.”
“He claimed he wasn’t familiar with Ralph Baric (allegedly engaged in gain of function research at North Carolina University at Chapel Hill). He also feigned unfamiliarity with Peter Daszak, who brokered Fauci’s NIAID grant money to the Chinese biolab in Wuhan, until he was confronted with emails from his own chief-of-staff describing Daszak and Baric as part of Fauci’s own team.”
Additionally, Fauci maintained “he had no knowledge that his communications team coordinated with social media companies to censor ‘misinformation.’” Only when he was shown documents that established he was an integral part of these communications did he admit the truth, writes Hoft.
Another method Dr. Fauci used was pretending not to understand a word or phrase in the question, apparently hoping the lawyer would fail to catch the ploy and move on, attested Hoft. For example, he claimed he didn’t know what “Meta” (parent company of Facebook) referred to, until he was forced to admit that he indeed did know.
His feigning ignorance extended to the Great Barrington Declaration, attorney Jenin Younes of the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) noted. In response to questions about his response to the document, Fauci claimed the subject never concerned him; he took no interest in it.
“I have a very busy day job running a six billion dollar institute. I don’t have time to worry about things like the Great Barrington Declaration,” Fauci said, according to Younes.
Penned in October 2020 in Great Barrington, Mass., by three prominent scientists affiliated with Stanford, Harvard and Oxford universities, the document criticized the policy of coast to coast lockdowns then in force to combat Covid-19.
The scientists called for “focused protection” on the most vulnerable populations, while urging the lifting of draconian lockdowns and other harsh restrictions on children and others at minimal risk from Covid-19.
Two of its authors, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, are plaintiffs in the case, and while they were scorned and censored at the time, time has proven them correct.
Cover Blown by FOIA Emails
Despite Fauci’s insistence that he was “too busy” to take an interest in the Great Barrington document, email exchanges obtained through a FOIA request prove that he was not only extremely concerned about the Declaration but took concerted action to censor it.
In one email exchange, Dr. Francis Collins of NIH, Fauci’s former boss, wrote to him of his alarm that the Great Barrington document would encourage dissent over the lockdown policy. “There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of [the Declaration’s] premises,” Collins urged Fauci.
Fauci sprang into action and sent his boss a magazine article a day later that he felt accomplished the objective. The article and others that followed attacked the authors of the Declaration as “fringe” epidemiologists attempting to sow “divisiveness.” It accused them of wanting “to save the youngest and fittest at the expense of their elders.”
“I have come out very strongly publicly against the Great Barrington Declaration,” Fauci announced to Dr. Deborah Birx (former White House Coronovirus Coordinator) in another email made public by Fox News.
Fauci’s attacks—none carrying his name—were a complete distortion of the Declaration’s message. Along with media censorship of any opinion piece supporting the Declaration, the articles bashing it turned public opinion against the authors and silenced them, the attorneys said.
Copying China Lockdowns on “Paper-thin” Evidence
Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit penned direct quotes from Fauci’s deposition on the subject of the NIH trip to China in February 2020, which was followed by Fauci’s promulgation of the lockdown policy.
Fauci admitted that the idea of a lockdown came from the Chinese. He confirmed that in Feb. 2020, he sent his deputy, Clifford Lane, as the U.S. representative for the WHO delegation to China.
Attorney John Sauer to Fauci: Dr. Fauci, did you discuss Mr. Lane’s experience on the trip with him when he got back from the WHO trip?”
Dr. Fauci: I did… Dr. Lane was very impressed how from a public health standpoint, the Chinese were handling the isolation, the contact tracing, the building of facilities to take care of people.
Sauer: Mr. Lane drew the conclusion that there might have to be extreme measures to mandate social distancing, to bring the outbreak under control, correct?
Fauci: Yes. He mentioned that they had a very organized, well regimented way of handling the outbreak.
Sauer: And so he had a positive reaction to that? There might be lessons to be learned for the United States in its own response to the outbreak?
Fauci: “I believe Dr. Lane came to the conclusion that when you have a widespread respiratory disease, a very effective way to curtail the rapid spread is by implementing social distancing measures…I have every reason to believe that his evaluation of the situation was correct.
“Just to be clear,” wrote Hoft who reproduced this dialogue from his notes, “Fauci here praised a policy response that included welding shut the doors to people’s apartments and full totalitarian controls on their every movement, as a ‘very organized’ and ‘well regimented’ implementation of ‘social distancing measures.’”
“Just let that sink in.”
How Could They Fall For It?
“Given China’s pattern of using propaganda, these two men should have approached its claims with skepticism,” noted Kheriaty in his report. Yet Lane apparently fell for the propaganda. He believed the regime had reversed the pandemic through draconian lockdowns—a claim now known to be false.
“Lockdowns of society were wholly untested and unprecedented. Yet Fauci was apparently willing to base his lockdown advocacy on the observations of a single guy relying on reports from a dictator touting his supposed success in ‘reversing the pandemic.’”
Those hollow claims set the stage for governments across the world, beginning with Britain, the United States and Italy, to follow the example set by the Chinese Communist Party.
With appalling reports coming in today, almost three years later, of the Chinese regime continuing severe lockdowns in pursuit of “zero-Covid,” and the current eruption of protests in Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities, Fauci has finally made an admission.
“China’s approach to Covid doesn’t make public health sense,” he told NBC this week.
Ironically, during his deposition, Fauci continued to defend lockdowns—taking care to call them “social distancing”– despite today’s accepted wisdom that they didn’t work. He seemed incapable of acknowledging the harm that resulted from mass quarantines; that they killed far more people than they saved, plunged millions into poverty and bankruptcy, and wreaked havoc in the lives of children.
Fauci revealed his contempt for ordinary Americans, saying the public “doesn’t have the ability to determine what’s best for themselves,” attested AG Eric Schmitt.
The Real Anthony Fauci
At one point during Dr. Fauci’s deposition, attorney Landry in an attempt at humor, placed a copy of Robert Kennedy Jr.’s scathing expose, “The Real Anthony Fauci,” on the desk between himself and Fauci. The doctor clearly did not find it funny.
The book, a best-seller despite censorship and boycotts, details a little-known side of Anthony Fauci. It describes how, as director of NIAID, Fauci dispenses $6.1 billion in annual funding for scientific research, allowing him to dictate and to an extent “own” research projects across the globe.
The immense financial clout at his disposal enables him to wield extraordinary influence over hospitals, universities, medical journals, and countless doctors and scientists, whose careers and institutions he has the power to ruin or reward.
The book also notes his $417,608 annual salary, the highest of all federal employees including that of president of the United States.
Fauci’s and his wife’s net worth soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a government-spending transparency watchdog group, OpenTheBooks. The Faucis’ net worth now exceeds $12.6 million, the auditing group reported. It skyrocketed during the pandemic,” OpenTheBooks CEO Adam Andrzejewski told Fox News.
“The system has rewarded Dr. Fauci handsomely,” Andrzejewski added. “He is the top-paid federal employee; his first-year “golden parachute” retirement pension is the largest in federal history (it will come to approximately 80 percent of his current salary); and he’s been honored with $1 million in prizes from foreign non-profits.”
Conflicts of Interests Over Royalty Payments
In a new report released in May 2022 that might raise eyebrows, the auditing group reports that “last year, the NIH – Anthony Fauci’s employer – doled out $30 billion in government grants to roughly 56,000 recipients. Those amounts buy a lot of favor and clout within the scientific, research, and healthcare industries.”
“In our breaking investigation,” writes OpenTheBooks, “we found hundreds of millions of dollars in payments also flow the other way. These are royalty payments from third-party payers (think pharmaceutical companies) back to the NIH and individual scientists.”
The financial entanglements between the federal health agencies and pharmaceutical companies cause conflicts of interests to inevitably arise, critics say. This often leads to what is called “regulatory capture,” a form of corruption that happens when the regulating agency is co-opted to serve the interests of the entity it is supposed to be regulating.
The auditing groups estimates that between fiscal years 2010 and 2020, more than $350 million in royalties were paid to the agency and individual NIH scientists, who are credited as “co-inventors.”
Because those payments enrich the agency and its scientists, each and every royalty payment could be a potential conflict of interest and needs disclosure, OpenTheBooks insists.
At present, the amount of the royalty payments are not required by law to be disclosed. Critics are determined to change this policy with the goal of introducing transparency and eliminating conflicts of interest.
With Fauci’s resignation, the powerful post he held with a lavish salary and $6 billion in research funds to annually disburse, is now vacant. Who will inherit the enormous financial clout he wielded while in office?
And with so much power and wealth concentrated once again in one person’s hands, what are the odds for increased transparency and accountability at NIAID?
According to individuals present at the deposition, there were “bizarre moments” during the 7-hour long meeting when Fauci seemed to demonstrate “the responses of a hypochondriac.”
One of these was when the court stenographer sneezed, testified Dr. Kheriaty in an article in the Brownstone Institute. Fauci halted in mid-sentence and threw the woman a withering look. “What’s wrong with you do, you have some sort of respiratory illness?” he demanded. “Because in the era of Covid, I’m concerned about being near you!”
The court reporter, who was sitting several feet away, was stunned. “I’m not sick, I just have allergies,” she explained. After a few moments of icy silence from Fauci, she offered to don a mask.
“Yes, do so. The last thing in the world I want to do is get Covid,” Fauci muttered to the people in the room.
Plaintiff Jill Hines who was present described the irony of the moment. “He wanted to talk about the life-saving interventions about vaccines…And despite being double-vaxxed and double-boosted, he was afraid of a court reporter sitting several feet away from him who sneezed!”
Fauci himself sat unmasked throughout the deposition. But he cast a disapproving look at AG Jeff Landry when the attorney sneezed into his suit coat jacket.
“This is the mentality in November 2022 of the guy who locked our country down and ruined countless lives and livelihoods…” AG Schmitt posted in his own description of the moment. He went on to enumerate some of many the U-turns Fauci had made in Covid policies regarding masks that made a mockery of “the science.”
“In Feb. ’20, [Fauci] emailed a friend advising her masks were ineffective,” Schmitt recounted. “He confirmed this again on March 31. But on April 3, he’s suddenly adamant that masks should be worn even though he couldn’t cite a single study to prove it.”
When NIAID’s director was pressed by the attorneys on why he didn’t couldn’t cite any studies to support his advice, he answered that he was “too busy saving lives to be bothered with trivialities.”
The Noble Lie
“Fauci admitted lying to the public,” writes Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, one of the plaintiffs. “In one segment during his deposition, he confessed that he knowingly made false public health statements in the early days of the pandemic; he advised people against using masks in order to prevent them from depleting the supply of masks for health workers.”
He felt this was a justifiable thing to do under the circumstances, he said.
By late 2021, large segments of the American public had begun to realize that Fauci’s reversals in Covid policy about masks and how the virus spreads lacked scientific foundation. So, too, his ever shifting statements about herd immunity thresholds, and his pronouncements about vaccines preventing transmission, which turned out to be completely false as the fully vaccinated became sick with Covid.
Fauci was slammed in Congress for his glaring inconsistency in asserting that migrants at the southern border were not to blame for the spread of the virus, while at the same time demanding a vaccine mandate for all other international travelers.
In a Newsweek op-ed titled, How Fauci Fooled America, the authors asked, “While a few have spoken up, why are more not doing so? Well, some tried but failed. Others kept silent when they saw colleagues slandered and smeared in the media or censored by Big Tech.”
Some critics are government employees who must refrain from contradicting official policy, the article noted. “Many were afraid of losing positions or research grants, aware that Dr. Fauci sits on top of the largest pile of research money in the world.”