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Chris Wallace: Backlash over Fauci emails 'highly political'

Fox News's Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceSunday shows - Biden foreign policy in focus Pompeo defends Trump on Russia in Chris Wallace interview Lewandowski says Trump has not spoken to him about being reinstated MORE came to the defense of White House chief medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US surpasses 600K COVID-19 deaths | Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern' Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding MORE on Friday as the nation's leading infectious disease expert faces scrutiny from conservatives over newly released emails.

Wallace told colleague John Roberts during a discussion on the network about COVID-19's origins that he had read reports on Fauci's emails and "a number of the emails" himself, concluding, "There's no smoking gun there."

"This is highly political. ... You're seeing it as a major talking point for Republicans," Wallace said, predicting that former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE would go after Fauci during an appearance in North Carolina on Saturday.

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The "Fox News Sunday" anchor called Fauci a "devoted public servant for 40 years."

Conservatives have criticized Fauci and accused him of not being forthcoming about the origins of the coronavirus following the release of email correspondence between him and others early on in the pandemic that seemed to question whether the virus was manmade.

While Fauci had cast doubt on the prospect of the virus originating from a lab, the emails do not show the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director rejecting the theory outright.

Wallace argued that political motivations are playing a mayor role in how people are reacting to the theory that COVID-19 originated from a lab in Wuhan, China, which has gained new attention.

"We outta take the politics out of this," Wallace said. "I think there certainly has been too much politics already."

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"When Donald Trump — back when he was president — suggested that China may have played a role in it, that it wasn’t a naturally occurring virus, I think there was a knee-jerk reaction from some Democrats, from some people in the media, to say, 'Well, if Trump says this is a possibility, it can’t be a possibility,'" Wallace said.

"That was a mistake then, I think it's a mistake now to over-politicize it," he added.

During the segment, Wallace emphasized the importance of figuring out how the virus originated, but stressed the need for unity.

"We all outta be on the same side," he said.

President BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE on Friday reiterated his confidence in Fauci as his chief medical adviser amid the rising attacks from conservatives.

Biden has ordered the U.S. intelligence community to further study the origins of the coronavirus and submit a report within 90 days outlining the evidence for whether it came from a lab accident or spread naturally.