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Rep. Matt Gaetz Confronts Speaker McCarthy in Fiery House GOP Meeting

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In a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Thursday morning, tensions flared as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confronted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), accusing him and his allies of orchestrating an online campaign against him with the help of “MAGA influencers.”

According to reports from Fox News, the exchange was marked by what was described as “fireworks.” Gaetz directly addressed McCarthy, alleging that “MAGA influencers” had been paid to attack him on social media. McCarthy promptly denied the accusation, dismissing Gaetz’s claims.

Speaker McCarthy dismissed Gaetz’s allegations, indicating that he had no intention of engaging in such activities. In the same meeting, another source revealed that McCarthy questioned Gaetz’s commitment to the GOP’s goals, pointing out that he was personally dedicating his efforts to allocate $5 million to support GOP candidates and members with the aim of strengthening their majority in the near future. McCarthy’s remark seemed to challenge Gaetz regarding his contributions toward achieving a stronger Republican majority.

In response to Gaetz’s allegations, some members of the GOP caucus expressed frustration. According to a second source, one lawmaker told Gaetz to “f— off,” while another referred to him as a “scumbag,” according to reports.

Gaetz confirmed the confrontation to reporters as he exited the meeting, explaining, “I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online.” He also confirmed McCarthy’s response, saying, “Yeah, that is what he said.”

When asked about his feelings toward McCarthy during and after the exchange, Gaetz remarked, “My blood pressure is like 120 over 80. So I’m feeling great.”

A spokesperson for Speaker McCarthy categorically denied any involvement in the alleged online campaign, attributing it to a Democrat-backed entity. In support of this claim, Fox News Digital reportedly obtained a screenshot of a cease-and-desist email sent by McCarthy’s outside lawyer to the individuals allegedly behind the campaign.

Furthermore, the email asserted that the campaign falsely claimed to act on behalf of Speaker McCarthy and his affiliated entities and warned of legal consequences if the actions continued.

The exchange in the House GOP meeting underscores the ongoing tension between Gaetz and McCarthy. Gaetz has been threatening to force a House-wide vote on McCarthy’s speakership, alleging violations of a deal struck to secure McCarthy’s election as Speaker in January.

Under the terms of that compromise, McCarthy agreed to allow any lawmaker to trigger a vote on his removal, known as a “motion to vacate.” While Gaetz had hinted at pursuing such a motion earlier in the week, he sidestepped questions on the matter during the recent meeting with reporters.

In the midst of this contentious atmosphere, Gaetz emphasized his current focus on advancing single-subject spending bills, deflecting inquiries regarding the motion to vacate and maintaining his dedication to legislative efforts.

The confrontation between Gaetz and McCarthy underscores the complex dynamics within the Republican caucus as it navigates internal divisions and confronts ongoing challenges on Capitol Hill.

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COVID-19

Adviser to Fauci bragged about helping him evade FOIA, ‘he is too smart’ to get caught

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The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic published evidence ahead of a hearing that explains the senior scientific adviser to then-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci actually bragged about helping Fauci evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The adviser, David Morens, admitted in his own communications to intentionally evading FOIA by using a Fauci’s private Gmail address or just handing him documents in person, according to the newly disclosed emails.

The 35-page report on Morens includes previously unreleased emails including:

An April 21, 2021 email shows Morens contacted EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, whom Morens has described as his “best friend” and a U.S. taxpayer conduit for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as well as Boston University and New England Biolabs researchers.

The subject line references “CoV research in China, GoF, etc.,” referring to EcoHealth-facilitated coronavirus research at WIV that could make a virus more transmissible or dangerous. The National Institutes of Health recently admitted it funded gain-of-function research under that definition but not a stricter regulatory definition.

“PS, i forgot to say there is no worry about FOIAs,” Morens wrote. “I can either send stuff to Tony on his private gmail, or hand it to him at work or at his house. He is too smart to let colleagues send him stuff that could cause trouble.”

A May 13, 2021 email to the same recipients referred to “our ‘secret’ back channel” by which Morens connected Fauci to a journalist named “Arthur,” apparently to discuss the feds’ preferred narrative that SARS-CoV-2 emerged naturally rather than via lab leak. The email cited an article on the message board Virological.

Gerald Keusch, associate director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory Institute at BU, emailed Daszak Oct. 25, 2021 to relay a phone conversation with “David,” who is “concerned about the privacy of text” and email sent and received on his “government phone” because they “could be FOIA’able.”

“Tony has told him not to be in touch with you and EHA for the time being,” Keusch wrote. Morens relayed that Daszak should get his story straight on EcoHealth’s claim that NIH locked it out of the system when it tried to file its year-five progress report that disclosed an arguable gain-of-function experiment.

Earlier in the day, Morens told Daszak “i will be meeting with Tony about this later on.” The subject line of the thread was “Draft response to Michael Lauer,” deputy director for extramural research at NIH.

Morens also told Daszak that Fauci and then-NIH Director Francis Collins are “trying to protect you, which also protects their own reputations,” apparently meaning against allegations that U.S. tax dollars passed through EcoHealth funded research that may have led to SARS-CoV-2’s emergence.

The subcommittee said it found emails that revealed “likely illegal” practices, including an April 2020 email in which Morens shared a “new NIAID implementation plan” with Daszak and an August 2020 email in which Daszak mentioned a “kick-back” to Morens after NIH awarded $7.5 million to EcoHealth.

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