Jim Jordan's latest witch hunt flunks fact check
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) questions acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while he testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Rep. Jim Jordan last week claimed to have dirt on America’s Doctor, and the conservative firebrand from Ohio said he had the receipts.

Jordan during the first hearing held by the new House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic on March 8 claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci in his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases paid $9 million to get scientists to change their view on the origin of the pandemic.

Jordan alleged that during a Feb. 1 phone call with Scripps Research and Robert Garry of Tulane University Fauci convinced the scientists to change their tunes and back his theory that the virus transferred naturally from animals to humans, rather than originating in a lab.

"So, three days after they say it came from a lab, they change their position, and the only intervening event is a conference call with Dr. Fauci and Dr. [Francis] Collins, a call that Redfield was not allowed to be on — the head of the CDC and on the coronavirus task force. And then three months later — shazam! They get $9 million bucks from Dr. Fauci,” Jordan said, according to a Washington Examiner report.

“Now isn't that something?"

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Upon further review, however, Jordan's incendiary claim fell flat.

According to Factcheck.org’s Kate Yandell, there is no evidence to back Jordan’s claim, and more important, “the timing of the grant is inconsistent with such a claim. Moreover, NIAID directors do not unilaterally decide who gets funding; groups of outside scientists review proposals and provide scores that are the primary determinants of funding.”

The scientists did shift their views in early 2020 on the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, the website notes.

“They moved from finding the SARS-CoV-2 genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory,” as Andersen put it in an email, to helping author a Nature Medicine paper stating that it was not ‘a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,’” Yandell wrote.

Yandell notes that although the origins of COVID-19 have not been conclusively determined, most scientists think the virus spilled over from animals into humans.

New reports surfaced Thursday that samples collected from the market contained genetic material from raccoon dogs and other animals, further supporting but not proving the hypothesis.

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