Saturday, May 2, 2020

Legal firestorm response to WH blocking Fauci testimony

Legal Experts Erupt After White House Blocks Anthony Fauci’s Coronavirus Testimony. “This is a pathetic, transparent attempt to keep a lid on Trump’s incompetence.”

Legal experts led the criticism of President Donald Trump’s White House on Friday after it confirmed it would not allow Dr. Anthony Fauci to testify before a House panel on the United States’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic next week.

White House spokesman Judd Deere claimed in a statement that the appearance of the infectious disease expert, who is a prominent member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, on Wednesday, May 6, would be “counterproductive.”

Instead, Fauci is expected to testify at a Senate Health Committee hearing the following week, on May 12, reported NBC News. The House is controlled by the Democrats, while the Senate has a Republican majority.

Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe described the move as “outrageous.”

Maya Wiley, who served as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chief counsel, called it “unconstitutional.”

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner called it “a pathetic, transparent attempt to keep a lid on Trump’s incompetence” and widely criticized handling of the pandemic, which has now killed more than 64,000 people nationwide.

Kirschner followed up with this tweet: “I am so sick of this administration’s crimes, callousness and cover-ups. What kind of sham, non-existent privilege has Trump asserted to stop Dr. Fauci from testifying? Wait, don’t tell me, it’s a variation on doctor-patient privilege …”

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol, veteran journalist Dan Rather and activist and actor Alyssa Milano also chimed in with criticism:

Kristol: “So the White House is taking responsibility for Fauci not testifying. It seems as if Fauci was willing to testify, and that neither he nor Azar wanted to say no publicly, forcing the White House to do so. Gotta think relations between WH and HHS/Fauci are near a breaking point. ”

Rather: “So the White House is blocking Fauci from testifying in front of the House? Calling it “counterproductive” since he’s busy working on the pandemic? The jokes write themselves, but there’s nothing funny about this.”

Milano: “Interesting that Trump thinks it’s “counterproductive,” for Fauci to testify in the Dem lead House committee but he’s okay with Fauci testifying in the GOP lead Senate committee. The GOP is playing politics with our health, safety and welfare. And it’s not ok.”

And Congressman Tim Ryan: “Outrageous. We’ve lost more people to this than in Vietnam & this President won’t allow a top official to testify before Congress so we can coordinate an integrated, whole-government response to save lives. I’m disgusted by this game show host President.”

(Thanks to our Roving Reporter Sherry.)

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