President Trump speaks about administration efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar listens in the White House Rose Garden on May 15. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The federal watchdog who issued an early report documenting acute shortages of coronavirus tests and personal protective equipment at overwhelmed hospitals will testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Tuesday, a congressional aide said.

Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, documented “severe shortages” of supplies in late March and described hospitals’ intense frustration with government authorities who were unequipped to address the scarcity.

After Grimm issued her report on April 3, President Trump criticized her for serving during the Obama administration and disputed the findings. On May 1, Trump nominated a permanent HHS inspector general to replace Grimm — one of several moves he has made to oust inspectors general who served Barack Obama and previous presidents.

Grimm’s appearance before the Oversight and Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), stands to be a high-profile moment of public scrutiny of the Trump administration by the Democratic-controlled House, which has struggled to secure Trump administration witnesses for oversight hearings.

The testimony and questioning — billed as a member briefing, not a hearing — is set to be conducted entirely by videoconference, with the proceedings live-streamed to the public. The congressional aide shared details of the hearing on the condition of anonymity because the briefing had not yet been announced publicly.

According to a draft notice of the hearing, Grimm is expected to brief the panel about her office’s work related to the coronavirus pandemic. “The briefing will address HHS IG’s recent report on hospital challenges in the pandemic, planned work on other aspects of the Administration’s coronavirus response, and HHS IG’s role as a member of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee,” it said.

Melissa Rumley, an HHS spokeswoman, confirmed Grimm’s appearance but said her briefing would not be focused on her earlier findings.

“While HHS OIG’s report on hospitals’s experiences responding to the COVID-19 pandemic may be part of the discussion, it is not the impetus for the briefing,” Rumley said. “The intent is for Principal Deputy Inspector General Grimm to inform the committee about our ongoing oversight efforts in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

After being confronted with Grimm’s findings on April 6, Trump lashed out on Twitter, writing, “Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report.”

Grimm joined the HHS inspector general’s office in 1999, during the Bill Clinton administration, and took over as acting inspector general in January. Trump’s nominee for the permanent job, federal prosecutor Jason C. Weida, awaits confirmation by the Senate.

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