Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky made an explosive announcement on Tuesday night that he is referring Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation because Fauci has allegedly lied to Congress. Dr. Fauci is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the chief medical advisor to the president.
Fox News host Sean Hannity said to the Kentucky senator in a Tuesday night interview, “You kicked off your questioning of Dr. Fauci emphasizing federal law makes lying to Congress a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.” Hannity zeroed in on the important question, “Is it your belief based on the evidence, senator, that he lied before Congress and broke the law?”
Senator Paul responded, “Yes, and I will be sending a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because he has lied to Congress.”
These allegations came after both Paul and Fauci got into an intense exchange during a Senate hearing. Fauci was so worked up that he appeared to leave shaking in anger.
The controversy centers on a funding issue previously reported concerning whether or not Fauci’s NIH funding was directed to the Wuhan lab and used to further gain-of-function research. But the conclusion varies by whom you ask and their definition of gain-of-function. The funding claim centers on a six-figure grant that NIH provided to a group called EcoHealth Alliance. They then directed money toward a Wuhan Institute of Virology project.
Josh Rogin who is a columnist at The Washington Post summarized the exchange between Fauci and Paul by tweeting this message: “Hey guys, @RandPaul was right and Fauci was wrong. The NIH was funding gain of function research in Wuhan but NIH pretended it didn’t meet their ‘gain of function’ definition to avoid their own oversight mechanism. SorryNotSorry if that doesn’t fit your favorite narrative.”
Paul went toe to toe with Fauci at the senate hearing saying, “Dr. Fauci, as you are aware, it is a crime to lie to Congress. Section 18.104.22.168 of the US Criminal Code creates a felony and a five-year penalty for lying to Congress.” He then reminded the doctor that in his last testimony with the same committee he stated “that the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And yet, the gain of function research was done entirely in the Wuhan Institute by Dr. Shi and was funded by the NIH.”
After giving Fauci a copy of a detailed report, Paul continued, “This research matches, indeed epitomizes the definition of gain of function research, done entirely in Wuhan, for which there was supposed to be a federal pause.”
Then Paul asked if Dr. Fauci wanted to retract his previous statement where he claimed that the NIH never funded gains of function research in Wuhan.
Fauci lashed out saying, “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 gain of function.”
After some back and forth between the two, Fauci said intensely, “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, okay?”
Paul continued to suggest the NIH was responsible for funding such research, despite Fauci’s denial. And he even went so far as to say that Fauci was “trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic.”
Fauci responded, ”If anybody is lying here senator, it is you.”