Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.
On Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, at 9 a.m., Dr. Anthony Fauci joined staff at the National Security Council (NSC) — the President’s national security and foreign policy advisory shop — for a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building about the novel coronavirus.
Fauci would continue to have meetings in classified settings throughout the month.
Fauci’s calendar entries included NSC meetings, White House Situation Room meetings and meetings in other classified settings, as COVID-19 was breaking in China. (To our knowledge, the existence of these meetings before Jan. 28, 2020, was not previously disclosed.)
On Friday, Jan. 24, four days after China admitted human-to-human transmission of the virus, Fauci started attending a small group COVID-19 discussion that first took place in “Anthony’s Office” in a building next to the White House. Anthony, in this case, appears to be an NSC employee and an expert in biodefense and China.
Flashing back to December 2019, when patients in Wuhan were showing up at hospitals with unidentified pneumonia cases, Fauci attended the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — National Institutes of Health (NIH) dinner and workshops on Dec. 19 and 20 — the sixth annual event for NIH staff and Gates Foundation executives.
On the morning of Dec. 19, billionaire Bill Gates tweeted out his own hopes for the coming year and his now prescient prediction: “one of the best buys in global health: vaccines.”
Today, we only know about these meetings, because our organization at OpenTheBooks.com, in partnership with the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch, sued the NIH in federal court. NIH had refused to even acknowledge our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
So, for the first time, here is our exclusive release of Fauci’s official calendar.
For a government bureaucrat, this sure was one tightly held calendar.
The refusal by NIH to follow open records law was a strategy to delay transparency: NIH forced us into expensive taxpayer-paid litigation to slow-walk 156 pages of semi-redacted calendar production.
Fauci’s calendar has 933 events during this five-month period — including 224 media interviews and 84 redacted events (only significant redactions that prevented analysis and understanding were counted, for example, phone number redactions were not included).
It’s a document that NIH and Fauci didn’t want you to see …
Why? What did Fauci know? And when did he know it?
Following Fauci’s timeline — highlights
Nov. 6, 2019: Fauci’s calendar lists “GPMB Discussion Note.” This likely deals with the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank’s Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. Fauci is a past member of the GPMB board which was formed to “ensure[s] preparedness for global health crises.”
On Jan. 27, 2020, the GPMB convened regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and Fauci signed off on the group’s Jan. 30, 2020, statement commending the WHO and the “transparency of China.”
Judicial Watch’s FOIAs uncovered that this statement was organized and circulated by Wellcome Trust scientist and GPMB member Jeremy Farrar (who also organized a secret conference call with Fauci and others on Feb. 1, 2020).
Nov. 12, 2019: Fauci flies to the Netherlands. His multi-day itinerary is not listed. The Netherlands is home to the father of “gain-of-function,” high-risk researcher Dr. Ron Fouchier.
Fauci’s NIH institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), paused (2014) then restarted (Jan. 2019) funding to the controversial researcher who (using NIH funds) created an H5N1 bird flu in his lab with pandemic potential. He did so by passaging the virus through ferrets multiple times, until it gained a new function by going airborne and infecting a ferret in a different cage.
Nov. 25, 2019: Fauci joins Ambassador Deborah Birx, the Global AIDS Coordinator at a World AIDS Day evening event hosted by the Business Council for International Understanding. On Feb. 27, 2020, Birx is appointed to join Fauci on Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force.
Earlier that day, Fauci has a “Pre-Brief for US Japan Biodefense Meeting.” In 2004, as I previously reported at Forbes, Fauci received a permanent pay adjustment for his “biodefense” work. Fauci is the top-paid federal employee, specifically because he was paid to prevent the next pandemic.
Nov. 25, 2019: Fauci has a call with his future biographer, Janet Tobias, who later produces the “FAUCI” documentary.
Dec. 3, 2019: Fauci has a call with Victor Dzau, who is the president of the National Academy of Medicine, a Duke University professor and a man whose Chinese family fled to Hong Kong to escape China’s civil war.
Dec. 19, 2019: Fauci attends an “NIH Gates Fdn dinner” at “The Cloisters,” likely the one in Lutherville, Maryland, an hour from NIH.
Earlier that morning, Bill Gates tweeted out what has become a much-discussed prediction, “What’s next for our foundation? I’m particularly excited about what the next year could mean for one of the best buys in global health: vaccines.”
Fauci and top officials, such as NIH director Francis Collins and Health and Human Services (HHS) assistant secretary for health Brett Giroir, joined Gates Foundation executives during the dinner and on panels the next day, according to a press report from the time.
What’s next for our foundation? I’m particularly excited about what the next year could mean for one of the best buys in global health: vaccines. https://t.co/MbjNWPEl5l
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) December 19, 2019
Jan. 17, 2020: Fauci has a call to discuss “CDC Gao Writing Request.” This is presumably related to George Gao, Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jan. 23, 2020: Fauci had an 8 a.m., in-person meeting with Dr. James LeDuc. LeDuc ran one of the few BSL-4 (biosafety level-4) biocontainment labs in the country (think: moon-suit stuff), at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he has long-trained Chinese scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) lab in BSL-4 biosafety procedures.
Emails acquired by FOIA from the U.S. Right To Know (USRTK) organization revealed that LeDuc was sending backchannel emails with his Wuhan colleagues to get information on the novel coronavirus outbreak, and even soliciting edits and corrections from Wuhan’s so-called “bat lady” Shi Zhengli for his April 2020 Congressional testimony.
LeDuc’s emails show he was communicating with his virologist colleague Yuan Zhiming, who was in charge of the WIV BSL-4 lab. LeDuc wrote an op-ed published on January 24 about his U.S.-China working relationship.
It’s possible this drop-by visit by LeDuc was to let Fauci know what he was hearing from Wuhan, and perhaps, not put that news in email.
By 4:30 that afternoon, LeDuc and former Ft. Detrick BSL-4 biolab director Dave Franz joined HHS Robert Kadlec for a conference call, a call revealed in USRTK’s document production from the University of Texas (page 3,409).
Franz emailed a brief note that same day “to facilitate [the] call.” The email described his and LeDuc’s work since 2007 as establishing a relationship with Chinese scientists (pg 115).
In other words, LeDuc was in town to talk about China and the Wuhan lab with top HHS and former military biolab officials.
Thus, while the public discussion was and would remain that the virus had a natural origin, behind the scenes, people were being briefed on the U.S.-Chinese scientists’ interactions and the Wuhan lab itself.
Unreported until now, throughout late January and February 2020, Fauci was in meetings with the NSC and in top-secret settings — including in the White House Situation Room. Fauci was also in small, “restricted” meetings with the NSC.
Were all these top-secret meetings known to the president, and do they give the impression people-in-the-know thought the virus had a natural origin?
Jan. 14 and 16, 2020: Fauci has a 9 a.m. “Novel Corona Virus PCC/Synch Meeting” with Phil Ferro, NSC and Executive Office of the President, on the 14th and a “Novel Corona Virus Touch Base” with Ferro on the 16th.
Jan. 20: China announced to the world that the virus has human-to-human transmission, an admission that they had a possible pandemic virus on their hands.
Jan. 21: Fauci’s NSC meeting gets a new name (“nCoV-PCC”) and the meeting now includes secure video teleconference.
Jan. 21: Fauci is interviewed by The Wall Street Journal reporter Betsy McKay on the listed topic “Coronavirus & HIV Papers.”
Is she asking Fauci about an upcoming scientific paper (published Jan. 31 by Indian scientists, but quickly withdrawn by the authors, amid intense criticism) that noted an “uncanny similarity” between the HIV virus and the spike protein in the COVID-19 virus?
Because bats don’t contract HIV, such a similarity would point to a lab creation for the novel virus.
An hour earlier, Fauci had a call with Peter Hotez about an “Anti-SARS vaccine candidate.” Hotez is an NIH-funded, Texas-based scientist and vaccine researcher, who had a $6 million NIH grant since 2012 studying a “SARS vaccine for biodefense.”
Hotez developed a non-mRNA vaccine model, that won recent approval for distribution in some foreign countries, such as India.
Jan. 22: The COVID-19 meetings with Fauci rise to a new level as Fauci’s calendar shows him in the White House Situation Room (“WHSR”), from ~1:30-3 this day for “nCoV PCC.”
Jan. 24: From ~1:30-2:30 p.m. Fauci has a “nCoV Small Group Discussion” at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB), next to the White House, in “Anthony’s Office” Room 381. (nCoV stands for novel coronavirus and was the reference given to COVID-19 before it was officially named SARS-CoV-2.)
This is one of the few times no last name is listed on Fauci’s calendar. The meeting entry in our FOIA production is cut off but includes “***Please”; the entry also includes an attachment, which NIH currently has not released to OpenTheBooks.com.
“Anthony’s Office” Clue from Feb. 5: From 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Feb. 5, Fauci’s calendar shows an EEOB “Restricted Small Group” meeting with Anthony Ruggiero, who is listed as with the Executive Office of the President/NSC.
Anthony Ruggiero, according to his public LinkedIn page, was NSC “Special Assistant to the President, Senior Director for Counterproliferation and Biodefense” at the time of the meeting. Thus, it’s likely the Jan. 24 EEOB meeting in “Anthony’s Office” was with the same man as the Feb. 5 meeting: Anthony Ruggiero.
Jan. 27: From 2:30-3:30 p.m., Fauci has an “NSC Deputy Call” in the NIH SCIF. (SCIF stands for “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility” and is usually a room reserved for sensitive or classified briefings.) Trump’s NSC deputy at the time was Matthew Pottinger. The subject of the call is not noted on the calendar.
(Also on Jan. 27, Fauci met with the CEO of Moderna, Stephane Bancel.)
Jan. 28: A Fauci/NSC COVID-19 meeting was previously disclosed Sharri Markson, who reported in her book “What Really Happened in Wuhan” that Pottinger called the Jan. 28 meeting with Fauci, HHS Secretary Azar and CDC Director Redfield just after Pottinger heard from Chinese dissident and human rights activist Wei Jingsheng about the virus breaking in China.
From Jan. 16 through Jan. 29, with few exceptions, Fauci’s weekday calendar shows a COVID-19 meeting, either in person or by phone via secure video teleconference with Phil Farro, who is with the Office of the President and the NSC.
Jan. 22: Fauci has an hour and a half blocked off for the COVID-19 meeting in the White House Situation Room.
Jan. 27: If he didn’t know before, emails released to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee reveal that on this date, Fauci got definitive word from his staff that NIAID, his institute, funded a bat coronavirus grant to EcoHealth Alliance who collaborated with the WIV and Ralph Baric. If the virus was from the WIV, Fauci now knew he had funded the Chinese lab.
Jan. 31: Fauci is in the Oval Office, meeting, presumably, with the president.
Feb. 4: By this date, according to released emails, Fauci and the federally funded scientists he consults with, have decided that COVID-19 came from nature via a bat, through some intermediate species. Behind the scenes, they are drafting papers arguing that any position besides a natural origin is a conspiracy theory.
Yet, Fauci keeps meeting with Anthony Ruggiero, NSC’s biodefense and China expert (1/25 and 2/5). Are they thinking COVID-19 may have come from a lab leak?
Feb. 11: Fauci has a meeting with Ralph Baric, the University of North Carolina coronavirus scientist, arguably the nation’s foremost expert on bat coronaviruses. The meeting includes Emily Erbelding, the director of the NIAID Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Baric had a long working relationship with the Wuhan lab, and, it would later be revealed, applied (unsuccessfully) for a $14 million DARPA grant with the WIV and EcoHealth Alliance to insert a furin cleavage site into a chimeric bat virus and passage it through “humanized” mice to see if it had pandemic potential.
The Fauci/Baric meeting backs up against the NSC meeting with Phil Ferro. It’s not clear where Baric is during the meeting, if in-person or by phone. Was Baric on the NSC call or listening in?
(Previously at Forbes, I wrote about how Fauci continued to fund scientists like Baric and Fouchier by giving exemptions and narrowly defining scrutinized research — circumventing funding bans by Presidents Obama and Trump.)
Feb. 17: “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2,” a paper that Fauci apparently helped edit and was organized by NIH-funded Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance, stated that the COVID-19 virus was from nature and called any suggestion otherwise a conspiracy.
Largely based on this paper, scientific discussion and social media posts suggesting a lab leak were censored as misinformation.
Other items of interest
Between Nov. 25, 2019, and Feb. 26, 2020, Fauci does three events with the American Society of Microbiology (ASM): a “Biothreats” discussion (11/25/2019); the ASM biothreats conference (1/29/2020); and meets with the ASM board (2/26/2020).
Jan. 7 and 9, 2020: Fauci did his first interviews on corona: 1. With CTV (Canadian TV) on the “pneumonia outbreak in China”; and 2. With Voice of America (VOA) on the “Wuhan pneumonia.” We couldn’t find the interviews published anywhere on the internet.
While the NIH keeps a public record of interviews Fauci conducted since Jan. 27, 2020, we identified 34 other interviews with him discussing the coronavirus from Jan. 7 to Jan. 26.
Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 24, Fauci meets or has calls with Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna (1/27); Jeremy Farrar of Wellcome Trust (British health non-profit focused on vaccines) (2/1); BioNTech executive and former NIH staffer Gary Nabel (2/6) and Johnson & Johnson chief scientist Paul Stoffels (2/24).
Feb. 7: Fauci receives training on personal protective equipment (PPE). Given his varying recommendations on PPE early in the pandemic, it would be interesting to know what training he received.
March 18: Fauci logged a meeting entitled “code red” with a follow-up meeting on March 20. No further details were listed.
March 26: Fauci did four YouTube hits of 15 minutes each. Fauci’s calendar titled these events: “FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] Califf Request” — likely referencing Robert Califf. At the time, Califf was leading healthcare strategy at Alphabet (Google and YouTube parent company).
Robert Califf is the current Commissioner of Food and Drugs of the FDA and the former commissioner under Obama.
The official work calendar is an historic hour-by-hour documentation of Fauci in the months leading up to and during the publicly announced COVID-19 pandemic.
Even with this topline calendar transparency, NIH admits to holding an additional 60,000 pages of backup documentation. The federal court is allowing us to ask for specific items.
Therefore, if there is a specific document of oversight interest, please send our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com a message via the “Contact Us” portion of our website.
The historic release of Fauci’s work calendar leaves all of us with more questions than answers.
It’s incumbent upon Congress to exert its right to oversight.
Note: We reached out for comment to Fauci, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other top scientists mentioned on Fauci’s calendar. None gave us comments by our deadline.
Originally published on Adam Andrzejewski’s OpenTheBooks Substack page.