The head of a congressional oversight committee accused the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of ordering an email, written by a top Trump administration health official, to be destroyed. Charlotte Kent, editor in chief of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, told investigators that she was instructed to delete an email written by Paul Alexander, senior adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
Representative James E. Clyburn and Azar wrote in a letter to CDC Director Robert R. Redfield and his superior, “my serious concern about what may be deliberate efforts by the Trump Administration to conceal and destroy evidence that senior political appointees interfered with career officials’ response to the coronavirus crisis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
According to The Washington Post, when Kent tried to locate the email, it was deleted.
“I heard from [REDACTED], who, as I understood, heard from Dr. [Michael F.] Iademarco, who heard from Dr. Redfield to delete it,” Kent said to investigators in a transcript.
Clyburn also claims that the report for an outbreak at a summer camp in Georgia was withheld for several days. A Health and Human Services spokesperson is urging the subcommittee to release the full transcript.
“Moreover, during the interview referenced in the letter, a staff member on the subcommittee chose to violate basic common practices of attorney-client privilege that protect the interest of the department, but more importantly the witness. Despite HHS working diligently to accommodate the select subcommittee’s many requests, the subcommittee is not operating in good faith.”
Blocks against CDC advice to the public on the pandemic by Alexander and his supervisor at HHS, Michael Caputo, was reported this summer.
According to the Washington Post, the committee is seeking to interview Redfield and wants to interview four other CDC officials.