Clyburn Issues Subpoena to Trump White House Advisor Dr. Steven Hatfill on Coronavirus Response

Sep 23, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (September 23, 2021)— Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, issued a subpoena to Dr. Steven Hatfill, an advisor to former Director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro.  The subpoena orders Dr. Hatfill to produce documents related to his work on the Trump Administration’s pandemic response by October 7, 2021, after Dr. Hatfill refused to cooperate with requests set forth in an April 9, 2021 letter.

In a memo to Select Subcommittee Members explaining the reasons for issuing the subpoena, Chairman Clyburn wrote:

“Dr. Hatfill has failed to comply with requests to provide key documents and information that the Select Subcommittee needs to complete its inquiry.  The Select Subcommittee obtained copies of certain documents regarding Dr. Hatfill’s role working on the federal government’s pandemic response from alternate sources.  These documents raise new questions regarding the Trump Administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and make clear that other documents and communications may remain in Dr. Hatfill’s possession that are responsive to the Select Subcommittee’s longstanding requests. …  Dr. Hatfill’s refusal to produce documents impairs the Select Subcommittee’s efforts to investigate the failures that contributed to the tragic loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives.”

Chairman Clyburn released new evidence relating to Dr. Hatfill and his role in the Trump Administration’s response to the pandemic, including:

In the fall of 2020, Dr. Hatfill and other Trump Administration officials allowed the pandemic response to take a “back-seat” to instead focus their efforts on the 2020 presidential election and promote the Big Lie.

  • On October 20, 2020, Dr. Hatfill wrote in an email, “[W]ith the election so close, COVID is taking a back-seat” despite the fact that “the disease is rearing it [sic] ugly head again.”  As of that date, the deadly “third wave” of the pandemic was already starting to pose significant threats to Americans’ safety nationwide. 
  • As the outbreak continued to worsen nationwide in November and December 2020, Dr. Hatfill acknowledged that his focus “shifted over to the election fraud investigation in November”—chasing baseless conspiracy theories about voter fraud instead of taking steps to ensure the nation was responding effectively to the pandemic. 
  • When asked by a George Washington University colleague on January 5, 2021, why he was not “fixing the virus,” Dr. Hatfill admitted:  “Because the election thing got out of control.  I go where my team goes.”  Nearly 200,000 Americans tragically lost their lives due to the coronavirus between Election Day and Inauguration Day.

Dr. Hatfill criticized the Trump Administration’s pandemic response and called for the firing of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci and then-Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn.

  • In a September 22, 2020, letter to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Dr. Hatfill advocated that “Two members of the COVID-19 Task Force (Drs, Fauci, and Hahn) need to be urgently replaced.”  Dr. Hatfill also urged that “The US COVID-19 strategy must be changed to a focused, community outreach approach involving the outpatient and prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine with Zinc supplementation” to treat the coronavirus, advised that “COVID testing in the US is still broken” due to delays in test processing, and warned that, “Until the National Pandemic Plan is properly implemented, there is no hope of a win and this pandemic will have to burn itself out with thousands of more preventable deaths in the process.” 

In March and April 2020, when the nation faced desperate shortages of masks necessary to keep frontline workers safe—due to insufficient manufacturing capacity coupled with increased demand and exacerbated by the Trump Administration’s failure to implement a coordinated national plan to alleviate these shortages—Dr. Hatfill declined opportunities to be connected with potential suppliers because the goods were not manufactured in the United States.

  • On March 27, 2020, while he was working for the Trump White House, Dr. Hatfill declined an offer to speak with “people who have or say they have large numbers (hundreds of thousands or millions) of N95 or KN95 mask available from abroad,” saying:  “Nothing that is not US based.”  Dr. Hatfill turned down another offer on April 10 because it was connected to a “US based sewing company that has manufacturing capacity in Mexico and Central America.”  He said that supplies “Has [sic] to be US made.”

Dr. Hatfill’s role in the Trump Administration was far more extensive than previously known—casting doubt on the veracity of Dr. Hatfill’s prior statements to the Select Subcommittee.

  • Dr. Hatfill made representations to Select Subcommittee staff minimizing his role in the prior Administration.  On April 16, 2021, Dr. Hatfill sent an email misleadingly claiming he had “nothing of relevance for the [S]ubcommittee’s investigation.”  Subsequently, in an April 23 email, Dr. Hatfill claimed that he was merely “an unpaid volunteer and made no decisions,” and that he had “no experiential basis for bureaucratic procedure, and thus cannot provide any further clarification” on the issues raised in the Select Subcommittee’s letter.
  • Contrary to these claims, Dr. Hatfill wrote in emails to friends and colleagues that he worked “an average of 10 hours a day, 7-days a week, unpaid, as the senior medical advisor to one of the President’s Senior Advisors” from January 2020 through January 20, 2021.  In this capacity, Dr. Hatfill appears to have had an office in the White House from where he regularly coordinated with high-level officials in the White House and numerous agencies on a broad array of issues related to the pandemic, including drafting memoranda for President Trump and interacting with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

The Trump White House may have evaded transparency requirements by classifying Dr. Hatfill as an unpaid volunteer—possibly allowing Dr. Hatfill to avoid disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.

  • Documents show that the White House did not disclose Dr. Hatfill’s name in its annual disclosure to Congress.  An April 2020 email also suggests that Dr. Hatfill was not required to sign the Trump Administration’s Ethics Pledge or provide certain background information until at least three months into his tenure at the White House.  While working at the White House, Dr. Hatfill also engaged in personal business discussions with a private company, HyperSpectral APD, LLC, that was working on coronavirus detection.   

Dr. Hatfill and other Trump Administration officials regularly used personal email accounts to conduct White House business related to the pandemic.

  • Dr. Hatfill exchanged more than 1,000 messages using his George Washington University email account with senior officials in the Trump White House, federal agencies, private companies related to procurement and supply chain issues, and others about the federal government’s pandemic response.  In one email to an unidentified White House employee, Dr. Hatfill misleadingly stated“States favorable to Trump have a lower COVID Case Fatality Rate than the Fucktard states that do not.” 
  • Dr. Hatfill and other White House personnel appear to have used ProtonMail accounts to communicate amongst themselves and with others about their work on the pandemic response, suggesting that Dr. Hatfill likely possesses additional documents and communications relevant to the Select Subcommittee’s investigation in his ProtonMail account and possibly in other private accounts and on his personal devices.  The Select Subcommittee has previously released evidence that other Trump Administration advisors used ProtonMail and other personal email accounts for official business.

On April 9, 2021, Chairman Clyburn sent a letter initiating this investigation and requesting documents and communications from Dr. Hatfill.  Despite repeated follow-up efforts, Dr. Hatfill refused to produce a single document for over five months.  Today’s subpoena requires Dr. Hatfill to produce all documents and communications that remain in his possession related to his involvement in the federal government’s response to the coronavirus or any related procurement or supply chain issues by October 7, 2021.

Click here to read Chairman Clyburn’s memorandum.
Click here to read the subpoena to former White House advisor Steven J. Hatfill.
Click here to read the new documents being released today.

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117th Congress