Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield instructed staff to delete an email from a Trump political appointee seeking control over the agency’s scientific reports on the pandemic, a senior CDC official told congressional investigators this week.
The e-mail was reported by the Washington Post to have been in regards to changes sought in a report on the coronavirus response in children.
A House subcommittee was looking into the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic including their interference at the CDC.
“I was instructed to delete the email,” MMWR editor Charlotte Kent told investigators. Kent, who was on vacation when Alexander sent the email, said that she was informed of the request by a colleague who filled in for her, and that she understood the request to be from Redfield. Kent said that she never saw the email herself. “I went to look for it after I had been told to delete it, and it was already gone,” she told investigators on Monday.
Rep Jim Clyburn wondered out loud if the episode would be only part of the administration’s attempts to conceal and destroy evidence of political meddling in the pandemic response. Clyburn submitted a letter to Redfield and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, warning them of a possible violation.
“Federal employees have affirmative obligations to preserve documents, and destruction of federal records is potentially illegal,” Clyburn warned in the letter. “Federal law also provides for up to three years of imprisonment for willful destruction of federal records.”
The rest of the story is at Politico.