The interview, published Tuesday, comes amid fears from many that Trump could prematurely push for a COVID-19 vaccine approval as part of an effort to make himself look better than is accurate with regards to the pandemic's impact on the election.
"The Data and Safety Monitoring Board could say, 'The data is so good right now that you can say it's safe and effective,'" Fauci explained to KHN, adding that—under such circumstances—researchers would arguably have what he said was a "moral obligation" to end the trial early. At that point in this hypothetical scenario, Fauci explained, the vaccine would be made active to everyone in the study (i.e. including placebo recipients) as a means of speeding up the path toward getting the vaccine out to millions of people.
And as for political pressure, Fauci said that he has trust in the members of the Data and Safety Monitoring Board, who are not employees of the government and who he said are known for holding vaccines to influence-free high standards.
Also on Tuesday, Fauci appeared on Good Morning America, where he thankfully used a portion of his time to fire back against wildly misleading claims from Trump and his supporters, including a post the president had retweeted that dubiously claimed that the CDC's reporting methods were inaccurate.
"So the numbers you've been hearing—there are 180,000-plus deaths—are real deaths from COVID-19," Fauci said. "Let [there] not be any confusion about that."