#045 | Fauci in the Hot Seat: Revelations and Oversights in Congress and Middle East Tensions Spike
All of the top stories 📰 of the week to keep you in the know
It’s FRIDAY, Jan 12th YAY
This week’s stories:
A quick note: I hope you enjoy this article and find it helpful because I'm on a mission to bring critical, truth-focused content to everyone, which is why most of my work is free. But this is a one-woman operation, and quality journalism takes time and effort.
If you value this endeavor, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Your support will help keep the majority of these articles free and accessible.
Fauci Faces Congress: Admission of Unscientific Guidelines Amidst Alleged Oversight Failures
In the recent Congressional hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), faced intense scrutiny over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the origins of the virus. Republican members of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, chaired by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, raised serious concerns about the public health system's failures under Fauci's leadership. They criticized Fauci for his alleged lack of oversight regarding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and his role in shaping pandemic-era policies.
Throughout the testimony, Fauci frequently stated that he could not recall specific details related to COVID-19's origins and government policies during the pandemic. This included his inability to confirm whether NIAID had mechanisms to oversee the laboratories they funded. Republicans accused Fauci of playing semantics with the definition of gain-of-function research to avoid admitting NIH’s involvement in potentially dangerous research in China. They also highlighted a 2020 email suggesting Fauci was aware of gain-of-function research occurring in Wuhan but later backtracked on stating this as a fact.
Fauci's testimony also revealed that the social distancing guidelines recommended by public health authorities, such as maintaining a distance of six feet, were likely not based on scientific data. This admission raises questions about the basis of various COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Additionally, Fauci admitted that he advised imposing vaccine mandates on college students and signed off on every foreign and domestic NIAID grant without reviewing the proposals in detail.
Democrats, on the other hand, have criticized the Republican-led inquiry as a partisan witch hunt aimed more at discrediting Fauci than genuinely investigating the pandemic’s origins and response. They argue that the focus on Fauci distracts from broader issues of public health and pandemic preparedness. This perspective views the hearing as an attempt to politicize the pandemic response and undermine the credibility of public health institutions.
This hearing has undoubtedly fueled the ongoing debate over the U.S. government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with both sides presenting sharply contrasting views. The Republicans emphasize accountability and potential cover-ups, while Democrats caution against politicizing the public health crisis. As the subcommittee continues its investigation, more insights into the government's pandemic response and the origins of COVID-19 are expected to emerge.
It's Meseidy is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
News of the Week
Escalation in the Middle East: U.S. and UK Respond to Houthi Threats with Force
The U.S. and UK have launched significant retaliatory strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen. This action is a direct response to over two dozen Houthi attacks on vessels in international shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The strikes targeted a variety of Houthi installations, including radar systems, airfields, and drone and missile storage sites, with the intention of significantly degrading their capabilities.
The operation, supported by allies like Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Bahrain, involved fighter jets, surface vessels, and submarines. President Joe Biden emphasized that these strikes were necessary to protect freedom of navigation in critical commercial routes and to send a clear message against hostile acts threatening international commerce.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also condemned the Houthi attacks, stating their actions were exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and risking lives at sea. This operation marks the first major action against Houthi targets inside Yemen since their Red Sea attacks began.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who the Pentagon did not inform the White House about his hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for four days, continues to be hospitalized due to complications from his cancer treatment. Despite his hospitalization, Secretary Austin coordinated and authorized these strikes using secure communication channels.
Austin's lack of transparency raised serious questions and prompted Democrat Chris Deluzio to call for his resignation.
Following the U.S. and UK's retaliatory strikes against Houthi sites in Yemen, the U.S. embassy in Iraq was bombed, suspected to be a retaliatory act by Iranian-backed militias. The embassy complex was struck with seven mortars. The militias have warned of further strikes if the U.S. continues its military actions against the Houthis. This incident highlights the escalating tensions in the region and the potential for further conflict stemming from the U.S. and UK's recent military actions in Yemen.
Congressional Showdown: Republicans Move to Charge Hunter Biden with Contempt, Hunter Makes an Unexpected Appearance
House Republicans are preparing to move forward with contempt of Congress charges against Hunter Biden for defying a congressional subpoena related to his business dealings, which the Republicans allege could have compromised national security.
Hunter Biden and his legal team have countered these moves by insisting that any testimony he provides should be in a public setting, not behind closed doors as the subpoena demanded. They cite concerns that information from closed-door testimonies could be selectively leaked and manipulated, shaping public opinion against him unfairly.
Despite these claims, GOP leaders, specifically Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan view Hunter Biden’s defiance as a clear contempt of Congress. They argue that his refusal to comply with the subpoena is an obstruction of their probe into his alleged illicit business activities. The implication is that Hunter Biden is receiving special treatment due to his family name.
This week, the situation reached a dramatic pitch when Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance at the Capitol. He reiterated his willingness to answer any questions but only in a public hearing. His appearance was met with critical responses from Republicans, such as Rep. Nancy Mace, who accused him of epitomizing white privilege and lacking courage for not complying with the subpoena.
Judges Grill Trump’s Legal Team Over Presidential Immunity Defense
Former President Donald Trump's claim of presidential immunity faced scrutiny by a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel on Tuesday. The session delved into the arguments surrounding Trump’s appeal against District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision. This decision rejected the dismissal of his election interference case based on the claim of presidential immunity.
The panel, comprising Judge Karen Henderson, a George H. W. Bush appointee, and Judges Michelle Childs and Florence Pan, both Biden appointees, questioned the scope and implications of such immunity. A notable moment occurred when Judge Pan inquired whether a president could order the assassination of a political rival. Trump’s attorney, John Sauer, emphasized that the Constitution's structure necessitates impeachment and conviction by the Senate prior to any criminal prosecution.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer, James Pearce, countered this view, warning of an "extraordinarily frightening future" where a president could evade legal responsibility by resigning before impeachment. He argued that such a precedent has never been established in U.S. history and could undermine the legal accountability of presidents.
Pearce stressed that while the president holds a unique constitutional role, this does not place him above the law. Sauer, however, cautioned that prosecuting a president for official acts could open a “Pandora’s Box,” leading to unforeseen consequences, such as indicting future presidents for decisions made in office.
Judge Pan challenged Sauer’s arguments, suggesting that if a president could be prosecuted post-impeachment and conviction, other arguments for immunity might not hold. She also highlighted the executive interest in enforcing criminal laws. Additionally, Judge Henderson pointed out the paradox in asserting that a president’s duty to enforce laws allows them to violate criminal laws.
The judges also expressed hesitation in reaching a conclusion on the immunity question, citing arguments from an amicus brief suggesting the appeal might be premature. Despite this, Pearce urged the court to make a definitive decision.
This hearing is part of a larger legal battle, likely to reach the Supreme Court, over presidential immunity's limits and former presidents' accountability. The Supreme Court had earlier denied Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request to fast-track the appeal. The outcome of this case could set significant legal precedents regarding the extent of presidential powers and their immunity from prosecution.
Biden Administration to Recinde Trump's Healthcare Conscience Rule
The Biden administration is moving to rescind a Trump-era rule that allowed healthcare workers to refuse to provide services like abortions and transgender treatments due to religious or moral objections. This rule, known as the "conscience rule," was introduced in 2018 and finalized in 2019 but was blocked by federal courts following lawsuits from several states, cities, and advocacy groups.
From the perspective of those on the Left, this move is seen as a necessary step to protect patients' rights and ensure access to comprehensive healthcare services. Progressive advocates and organizations like Planned Parenthood view the rescission of this rule as part of a broader effort to dismantle the Trump administration's legacy on abortion rights and ensure that healthcare is accessible to all, regardless of the personal beliefs of healthcare providers.
On the other hand, conservative viewpoints express concerns that rescinding this rule violates the First Amendment rights of healthcare workers. They argue that the rule was essential for protecting healthcare professionals from being compelled to participate in procedures that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, such as abortion or gender-affirming treatments.
The specific details of how the Biden administration will replace or modify the Trump administration rule are still under review. This will determine how much the initial rule is reversed and what safeguards or restrictions will be implemented for healthcare providers and patients in need of care.
Christie Ends Presidential Bid, Unleashes Candid Remarks on Trump and Haley
Chris Christie, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, recently announced his withdrawal from the 2024 presidential race. This decision was made public at an event in New Hampshire, where Christie emphasized his commitment to truth-telling in politics. He expressed a clear intention to prevent Trump from becoming president again, citing this as more important than his own political ambitions. Christie's exit from the race is seen as a potential boost to other Republican candidates, particularly Nikki Haley, who has been rising in New Hampshire polls.
Interestingly, Christie's departure was marked by a controversial moment caught on a hot mic. Before announcing his campaign suspension, he was overheard making disparaging remarks about Nikki Haley, stating that she is "going to get smoked." This frank comment has caught the media's and political observers' attention, as it contrasts with the support Haley might have expected to gain from Christie's supporters in the wake of his campaign's end.