“WASHINGTON – Congressional investigators say Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield may have directed officials to delete a contentious email sent by a Trump appointee that demanded the health agency halt weekly COVID-19 mortality reports that the official called CDC “hit pieces on the administration.”
The revelation came from Dr. Charlotte Kent, the head of the scientific publications branch and editor of the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), after she testified Monday behind closed doors before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. It comes as the U.S. on Wednesday reported more than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths for the first time, a single-day toll worse than 9/11. New infections are also booming, leaving hospitals across the nation with bed shortages and prompting stay-at-home orders in some places and mask mandates in 38 states.
Kent said she was told to delete a four-page email by a colleague who said the direction came from Redfield, which the committee says could violate a federal law that is punishable by up to three years in prison.
The email was sent by Paul Alexander, who at the time of the Aug. 8 email was the scientific adviser to Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo. The email includes misspellings, demands and accusations that the CDC was aiming to hurt Trump with its reporting. Both Alexander and Caputo have since left their roles in the department.”