House panel releases new details of Trump administration Covid contracts

What the documents say: A memo received by the committee sent in March 2020 by White House trade advisor Peter Navarro warned that the then isolated Covid-19 cases would result in a “very serious public health emergency” Prepare, and complained that “the movement was slow”. The memo recommended that the president support domestic supply chains for PPE and accelerate the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.

In the months that followed, Navarro and other senior officials and outside advisors urged federal agencies, according to other documents released Wednesday, federal companies that were recently formed and had political ties with the United States to submit pharmaceutical ingredient contracts and other supplies to Trump Administration.

One deal examined was a $ 354 million contract awarded to Phlow Corporation – a first-time government contractor that was formed just months before the funds were received. It was the largest contract ever awarded by BARDA and this was followed by a series of emails from Navarro to the agencies responsible in March 2020.

“Phlow needs to be lit green ASAP … please move this pup in Trump time,” he wrote. In a subsequent message, he said, “My head will explode if this contract is not approved immediately.”

Steven Hatfill, an associate professor at George Washington University with ties to White House political advisor Stephen Bannon, was also involved in brokering the contract, the committee said.

The panel is also investigating a $ 3 million federal contract awarded to a company founded by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Zachary Fuentes to provide respirators to the Navajo nation through the Indian healthcare system. Fuentes’ company received the contract just 11 days after its inception.

“When the respirators were delivered, IHS determined that they were unsuitable for use in a medical or surgical setting,” the committee wrote, requesting further records detailing how the contract was negotiated.

Why it matters: The Trump administration’s Covid treaty was scrutinized in detail last year. A plan to loan Eastman Kodak $ 765 million to convert to drug ingredient manufacturing was abandoned after suspicious stock deals on the eve of the loan announcement prompted US International Development Finance Corp to cite “recent allegations of misconduct.” .

However, Democrats responsible for governing bodies on Capitol Hill say more remains to be exposed, also because the Trump administration has failed to respond to requests for documents. Republicans on the committees complain that the boards are too focused on the past and fail to hold the Biden administration accountable.

Leave a Comment