(Headline USA) After a leading communications official in the Department of Health and Human Services warned via a Facebook video that seditious government scientists could be part of an armed coup, House Democrats quickly sought to clamp down.
A Democrat-led subcommittee said Monday that it is requesting transcribed interviews with seven officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the HHS, including communications aide Michael Caputo.
Caputo has often publicly pushed back on CDC statements about the coronavirus and said on Sunday that the CDC has a “resistance unit” to undermine Trump, according to the New York Times.
The New York Post reported on Caputo’s Facebook video:
Caputo also said his life could be in danger.
“You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,” he told his followers in a live video posted on his Facebook page Sunday.
He also predicted that Trump will win re-election but Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, won’t concede.
“And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin. The drills that you’ve seen are nothing,” he said, adding: “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”
“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president,” he continued.
His Facebook page has since been made private.
The House subcommittee said it is examining President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is launching an investigation into reports that political appointees have meddled with routine government scientific data to better align with Trump’s public statements.
According to a report in Politico, Caputo, along with scientific adviser Paul Alexander, pressured officials to alter the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, a long-running weekly journal that features the latest science-based research and data on infectious diseases.
Known as MMWR, the report has long been a sacred government information resource for doctors, scientists and researchers tracking outbreaks.
The officials pressured CDC to change the reports, at times retroactively, to better align them with Trump’s often rosier public statements about the coronavirus, Politico reported.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfield, the Democratic members of the subcommittee said they are “gravely concerned” about the reports of political meddling in a journal that has long been free of political interference.
“With nearly 200,000 Americans killed and hundreds more dying each day from the coronavirus pandemic, the public needs and deserves truthful scientific information so they can keep themselves and their families healthy,” the Democrats wrote.
The panel is also demanding documents from the department, including communications sent or received by Redfield, Azar, Caputo and Alexander regarding the MMWR and other matters.
HHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.
According to Politico, Caputo and Alexander complained about a report that explained children can transmit the coronavirus and Alexander asked the CDC to alter it or pull it down, saying the report could impact school reopening and hurt Trump politically.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press