After a heated exchange during a Tuesday morning Senate Committee hearing, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced that he will ask the Department of Justice for a criminal referral against Dr. Anthony Fauci.
During questioning, Paul asked Fauci if he wished to retract his statement of May 11, knowing that it is a crime to lie to congress. Paul was referring to a claim that Fauci had made, saying that the National Institute of Health (NIH) never funded “gain-of-function” research in a Wuhan lab.
Paul, a senator from Kentucky and also a medical doctor, referred to a 2017 research paper that alleges the Wuhan lab’s funding came from the NIH and was used to discover new strains of SARS that would provide “new insights into the origin and evolution of SARS-CoV and highlights the necessity of preparedness for future emergence of SARS-like diseases.”
During an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Paul said he’s worried that so-called “gain-of-function research” was conducted in Wuhan, which may have led to the novel coronavirus being developed artificially and released into the world – whether it happened intentionally or not.
“Is it your belief based on the evidence, Senator, that he lied before Congress and broke the law?” Hannity asked Paul.
“Yes, and I will be sending a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because he has lied to Congress,” Paul replied. “We have scientists that were lined up by the dozens to say that the research he was funding was gain-of-function.”
“He’s doing this because he has a self-interest to cover his tracks and to cover his connection to Wuhan lab. Now, does he deserve all the blame? No, there’s still some conjecture as to whether or not it came from the lab. But he’s lying about whether or not he funded gain-of-function research, and yes, he should be punished,” the senator continued.
Fauci quickly went on the defense after Paul accused him of being involved in the “gain-of-function” research.
“I have never lied before the congress, and I do not retract that statement. This paper that you were referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain, as not being a gain-of-function,” the coronavirus task force member stated.
“And Senator Paul, 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,” he added.
However, the validity of Fauci’s statement may be the result of semantics as Paul and Fauci both have what seems to be different interpretations of what is included in the definition of “gain-of-function.”
In the heated exchange regarding COVID-19, Paul said, “All of the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab. There will be responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself.”
Fauci quipped back, “I totally resent the lie you are now propagating, senator.”
“You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I totally resent that and if anybody is lying here, senator, it is you,” he continued.
On Thursday, Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of the National Health Commission said, “China cannot accept the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19. It is impossible for us to accept such an origin-tracing plan.”
It is still a highly disputed topic between scientists on where the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated. However, Rand Paul is hellbent on discovering the truth regarding whether COVID-19 was developed in the Wuhan lab or transmitted naturally by animals.