Ms. Psaki referred repeatedly to the administration’s “Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy across the Executive Office of the President,” which she said was completed early in Mr. Biden’s tenure.
The document, sent by Dana Remus, the White House counsel, to employees in May, states that “discrimination; harassment, including sexual harassment; bullying; and retaliation violate the respect owed to every employees in the White House, and such conduct will not be tolerated,” according to a copy obtained by The New York Times. Bullying is defined in the policy as “repeated behavior that a reasonable individual would find disrespectful, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive.”
Ms. Psaki said Dr. Lander’s background had been extensively vetted during his Senate confirmation process, for which she noted he had received bipartisan support. It was not a smooth road. During the process, Dr. Lander was questioned by Republicans and Democrats about his past contact with Jeffrey E. Epstein, the former financier and convicted sex offender. He also apologized for “understating” the contributions of two female scientists to the discovery of gene-editing technology.
At the time, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, gave him some advice: She said she hoped the doctor would “use this hearing as an opportunity to explain how you have learned from your past mistakes.”
On Monday, members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology requested that the White House provide them with a copy of the administration’s internal investigation report.
Dr. Lander, a mathematician by training who entered genetics, is best known as one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project and the former head of the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard. He was the first person in his role to be elevated to the presidential cabinet, and was in charge of the president’s cancer “moonshot” initiative, which aims to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over 25 years. In recent weeks, he had delivered briefings on the subject to the president and first lady, whose eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015.
But by the time he was appointed to be Mr. Biden’s science adviser, he was well known within the scientific community for offending women. Last January, 500 female scientists published an editorial in Scientific American that pleaded with Mr. Biden to consider naming someone else — preferably a woman — to the position.