FILE - In this May 1, 2018, file photo, Former Donald Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, left, joined by his attorney Dennis C. Vacco, leaves after being interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staff investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A House subcommittee examining President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is launching an investigation into reports that political appointees have meddled with routine government scientific data to better align with Trump’s public statements. The Democrat-led subcommittee said Sept. 14, 2020 that it is requesting transcribed interviews with seven officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, including communications aide Michael Caputo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Leave Of Absence For Health Official In Furor Over Meddling

September 16, 2020 - 10:37 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration health official embroiled in a furor over political meddling with the coronavirus response is taking a leave of absence, the government announced Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that Michael Caputo was taking the time “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.”

Caputo, the department's top spokesman, apologized on Tuesday to his staff for a Facebook video in which he reportedly said scientists battling the coronavirus are conspiring against President Donald Trump and warned of shooting in America if Trump were to lose the November election.

The Trump appointee also was accused of trying to muzzle a scientific weekly put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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