WASHINGTON (AP) — A House subcommittee is launching an investigation into whether political appointees have meddled with routine government scientific data to better align with President Donald Trump’s public statements about the coronavirus pandemic, following a report that one such appointee claimed scientists were trying to undermine Trump.
The Democrat-led subcommittee said Monday that it is requesting transcribed interviews with seven officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, including communications aide Michael Caputo. Caputo has often publicly pushed back on CDC statements about the coronavirus and said falsely in a Facebook video on Sunday that the CDC has a “resistance unit” against Trump, according to The New York Times. His page has since been made private.
According to a report in Politico, Caputo, along with scientific adviser Paul Alexander, pressured officials to alter the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, a long-running weekly journal that features the latest science-based research and data on infectious diseases. Known as MMWR, the report has long been a sacred government information resource for doctors, scientists and researchers tracking outbreaks.
The officials pressured CDC to change the reports, at times retroactively, to better align them with Trump’s often rosier public statements about the coronavirus, Politico reported. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield, the Democratic members of the subcommittee said they are “gravely concerned” about the reports of political meddling in a journal that has long been free of political interference.
“With nearly 200,000 Americans killed and hundreds more dying each day from the coronavirus pandemic, the public […]