Even in Dr. Anthony Fauci’s retirement, Sen. Rand Paul isn’t letting go.
The Kentucky Republican and the now-former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had some headline-making clashes over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic while Fauci was still on the job.
Now, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported Monday, six months after Fauci stepped down, Paul still wants him investigated for potential perjury.
In a Twitter post Monday night, Paul confirmed the report.
“I’ve referred Anthony Fauci to the DOJ (again) for lying to Congress when he denied the NIH was funding of gain-of-function research in Wuhan,” the senator said.
I’ve referred Anthony Fauci to the DOJ (again) for lying to Congress when he denied the NIH was funding of gain-of-function research in Wuhan. https://t.co/LuPDleRhYW
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 18, 2023
According to the Daily Mail, Paul wrote last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland citing Fauci’s testimony during a 2021 Senate hearing in which Paul accused the National Institutes of Health — the umbrella agency for Fauci’s NIAID — of funding “gain-of-function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese biomedical laboratory in the area where the COVID-19 pandemic began.
(“Gain-of-function” generally refers to genetically altering a virus to make it more infectious to humans.)
During the hearing, Paul noted a research paper produced by Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists discussing findings from “gain of function research” and acknowledged funding from the NIH.
Fauci stated that the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
A Washington Post “Fact Checker” column from May 18, 2021, acknowledged that the dispute largely involved the definition of “gain-of-function” in research. However, the column came down on Fauci’s side, noting that the “NIH connection to possible gain-of-function research appears so far to be elusive.”
The column gave Paul a rating of “two Pinnochios,” which relates to a statement that includes “(s)ignificant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people. (Similar to ‘half true.’)”
The column noted that the “NIH connection to possible gain-of-function research appears so far to be elusive.”
However, at a Senate hearing in July 2021, reports had already emerged that the NIH had, in fact, funded “gain-of-function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and Paul gave Fauci a chance to retract his May testimony.
Fauci declined, and stated defiantly, “Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement. … You do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about.”
“Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about.”
— Dr. Fauci after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) accuses him of lying to Congress about gain-of-function research in Wuhan lab. pic.twitter.com/aGhn3ua9r0
— The Recount (@therecount) July 20, 2021
But newly released documents cast doubt on that.
In his letter to Garland, according to the Daily Mail, Paul wrote that the U.S. General Accountability Office determined that the Chinese lab had received NIH funding. It also found that Wuhan University scientists had received NIH funding.
And in an email cited by the Daily Mail dated Feb. 1, 2020, Fauci himself described research in both places as “gain of function.”
In the email, Fauci acknowledged discussions with scientists who were concerned that “gain of function” research in Wuhan could be behind the pandemic.
“They were concerned about the fact that … there were mutations that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and there was a suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted,” he wrote.
“The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain of function experiments to determine the molecular associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan,” Fauci continued.
Yet in the 2021 hearing, Fauci denied that the work in Wuhan fell under the heading of “gain of function” research. Considering he was under oath at the time, that could constitute perjury — a crime that carries a potential punishment of five years imprisonment under federal law.
The email was released at a hearing Thursday of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Daily Mail reported.
Fauci committed perjury when he testified to Congress that the NIH had not funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
Fauci now has been referred to Attorney General Garland for prosecution for perjury.
An impartial Attorney General would prosecute.https://t.co/E75CzFts9g
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) July 18, 2023
As Paul’s Twitter post indicated, his letter to Garland is not the first time he’s sought a criminal investigation of Fauci.
In July 2021, Paul wrote to Garland with a similar request, also citing the May 2021 testimony.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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