Fauci testifies on Trump's coronavirus response

11 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:55 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

CDC director: "Testing is essential to reopening America"

POOL
POOL

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the US must have an extensive capacity to test for coronavirus before the country can lift certain restrictions.

"Rapid, extensive and widely available, timely testing is essential to reopening America," he said in his opening remarks to the senate committee.

He also said contact tracing is "critical" because it can prevent some community transmission.

WATCH:

10:46 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Fauci: We hope to develop multiple coronavirus vaccines

POOL
POOL

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health and an expert on Trump's coronavirus task force, said there are many possible vaccines being worked on — and researchers hope to develop more than one.

"We have many candidates and hope to have multiple winners," Fauci said, explaining that more vaccines will be good for global availability.

"In other words, it's multiple shots on goal," Fauci said.
10:45 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Testing in the US "is impressive but not nearly enough," GOP senator says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

"What our country had done so far in testing is impressive but not nearly enough," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chairman of the HELP committee, in his opening remarks.

Reopening the country requires large-scale testing, he added.

"In my opinion, this requires millions of new tests, many from new technologies. Some of these will fail, but we only need a few successes to get where we want to go," Alexander said.

As he noted his previous conversations around coronavirus treatments and vaccines with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sen. Alexander said that those are the ultimate solution, but until they are developed, all paths to reopening depend on testing.

"All roads back to work and school go through testing. The more tests we conduct, the better we can identify those who are sick and exposed, and we can quarantine the sick and exposed instead of trying to quarantine the whole country," the senator said.

Watch more:

10:38 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Senate Democrat: Trump's coronavirus response "so far has been a disaster"

Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, said her colleagues on the committee must dig for the truth about coronavirus because Trump is not.

"Truth is essential so people have the facts ... Lives are at stake." she said in her opening remarks. "The President isn't telling the truth — we must."

Murray said Trump's response to the pandemic has been a "disaster," citing the nation's lack of testing and shortages in personal protective equipment.

"The Trump administration's response to this public health emergency so far has been a disaster on its own," she said.

10:26 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Here's how this hearing will play out

Pool
Pool

Sen. Lamar Alexander, chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said today's hearing will end around 12:30 p.m. ET.

Here's how it will play out:

Each of the four witnesses will soon give a five-minute opening statement. Here are those witnesses:

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Robert Redfield, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Brett Giroir, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration

After that, each senator on the committee will get five minutes to ask questions. There are 23 members. Sen. Patty Murray, the committee's ranking member, will ask the final questions before the hearing wraps up.

10:12 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

This is what it looks like inside the Senate hearing room during a pandemic

Pool
Pool

The Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is in session to hear from White House witnesses about the Trump administration's response to coronavirus.

Inside the hearing room, senators are seated far apart from each other. Some were seen wearing masks. Some senators are on video conference.

All of the witnesses, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, will testify remotely, following potential exposures to the virus last week.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chair of the committee, is also teleconferencing in as he gives his opening statement.

10:18 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

The Senate hearing just started

Pool
Pool

US health experts representing the Trump administration, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, are testifying before the Republican-led Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee this morning.

The witnesses, who are all testifying remotely, will soon be sworn in. Here's who will testify:

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Robert Redfield, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Dr. Brett Giroir, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration
9:32 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

Fauci is testifying soon. Here's what we're expecting him to say.

From CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Lauren Fox

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci plans to tell a Senate committee this morning that the country risks "needless suffering and death" if states open up too quickly, he told The New York Times late Monday evening.

"If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: 'Open America Again,' then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country," Fauci said in an email to the Times, referring to the federal government's plan for states to re-open.

Fauci's planned testimony will fuel a hearing where senators will finally get a chance today to face off over the effectiveness of the Trump administration's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, in what could be one of the only public hearings featuring members of the White House's coronavirus task force.

The hearing will be Democrats' first opportunity since March to question leading medical experts — including Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield — about the Trump administration's response.

9:13 a.m. ET, May 12, 2020

This is what Fauci needs to tell lawmakers in his Senate testimony, Sen. Schumer says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Dr. Anthony Fauci to not hold anything back at today’s Senate Health Committee oversight hearing on the Trump administration’s coronavirus response.

“He needs to tell us that fact that we have to be real careful or this will come back with a vengeance and won't go away as quickly as it would,” Sen. Schumer said in an interview with CNN’s John Berman.  

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House's coronavirus task force, plans to tell the committee that the country risks "needless suffering and death" if states open up too quickly, he told The New York Times. 

Fauci “seems at times he's muzzled” by President Trump, Schumer said. “The President's always lurking over his shoulder. This is the first time we get to hear him without the President looking over his shoulder.” 

“President Trump has been like an ostrich in this whole crisis. He thinks by saying something, it becomes true because he wants it to happen, not that it will happen. … Two months ago, he said everyone who wants a test can get a test. That clearly wasn't true,” Schumer said. 
“Dr. Fauci is a truth teller. That's his reputation. It seems he has sort of muted the truth some in the presence of the President, maybe admonitions privately from the President. He has to tell the whole truth here.”

Schumer said that Fauci should underscore that states need much more testing — with numbers in the millions — in order to reopen safely. 

Schumer also called for a “big, bold plan” as Democrats push forward on another stimulus package

Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are sitting back and “behaving like Herbert Hoover before the Great Depression,” Schumer added. 

Watch more: