Adam Schiff Says Trump Is Concerned Dr. Fauci Would Contradict His False Coronavirus Claims If He Testified Before Congress

Rep. Adam Schiff has accused President Donald Trump of using a "false narrative" about China's role in the spread of the coronavirus to deflect attention away from his administration's "mishandling" of the pandemic.

The chairman of the house intelligence committee told MSNBC that despite its claims, the White House administration had not yet shared any evidence with Congress that the virus had "escaped the lab" in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak of the virus began.

Trump said on April 30 he had seen convincing evidence that the coronavirus originated from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), a sentiment repeated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Adam Schiff
Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff is pictured at the EU Council headquarters on February 17, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. He has accused President Donald Trump of pushing misinformation in his handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Schiff told MSNBC: "We are told that we are currently informed on the latest intelligence, so I don't know where they are getting this, apart from either expressing their desire, or they are withholding information from Congress."

The Californian Democrat added: "I think what they are clearly trying to do is deflect attention away from the administration's terrible mishandling of this virus and all of the false narrative that the president was putting out early on about [how] this was no worse than the flu...and so they have chosen to go after China."

China rejects claims it mishandled the outbreak or that the WIV was involved in the pandemic. The Global Times newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, published a piece demanding that Pompeo provide evidence for the claim and suggested he was "bluffing."

While Schiff said that China should have been "far more transparent" about human-to-human transmission and he believed that they "did conceal things," in his view, "there is a danger in the administration either putting out theories that cannot be substantiated, or deliberately provoking a fight during the middle of a pandemic."

In an interview with National Geographic, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that the coronavirus was unlikely to disappear and that it may resurge in the fall and the winter, requiring a considerable ramping up of testing.

Fauci also dismissed the theory that the coronavirus was found in the wild, brought into a lab and then escaped. He said that "everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species."

MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell referred to the comments, asking Schiff if he thought that would be the kind of evidence Fauci would give if he were not blocked from testifying to Congress.

Schiff said: "He [Trump] fears that Dr. Fauci will be even more candid with the country about the dangers of this virus and will feel more free to contradict the false claims that the president has been making," he added. Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.

Last week White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that it would be "counter-productive" to have those involved in the coronavirus response appear at congressional hearings.

"We are committed to working with Congress to offer testimony at the appropriate time," he said.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

    • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
    • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
    • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
    • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
    • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

    World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

    Hygiene advice

    • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
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    Medical advice

    • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
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    Mask and glove usage

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