Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield told lawmakers Wednesday that Dr. Anthony Fauci “sidelined” him from internal debates about the origin of COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, saying the former White House chief medical adviser did not appreciate Redfield’s support for the so-called “lab leak theory.”

“This was an a priori decision that there’s one point of view that we’re going to put out there, and anyone who doesn’t agree with it is going to be sidelined,” Redfield said at a hearing of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. “And as I say, I was only the CDC director, and I was sidelined.”

Redfield, 71, told Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) that his support for the theory that the coronavirus accidentally emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China — rather than jumping from animals to humans — likely prompted his exclusion from high-level discussions of the outbreak.

“I think I made it very clear in January [2020] to all of them why we had to aggressively pursue this,” he said. “And I let them know as a virologist that I didn’t see that this was anything like SARS or MERS. … And they knew that was how I was thinking.”