(USA Features) Sen. Rand Paul on Monday made good on a pledge last week to send the Justice Department a criminal referral for Dr. Anthony Fauci, accusing him of lying to Congress regarding funding for dangerous gain-of-function research at a research lab in Wuhan, China.
“I write to urge the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into testimony made to the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on May 11, 2021,” Paul wrote in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Washington Examiner reported.
Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has repeatedly said that no money from his department went to fund “gain-of-function” research, which some, including Paul, have theorized was what led to the creation of COVID-19.
Fauci has made his denials under oath. But Paul told Fox News host Sean Hannity last week he has scientists “lined up by the dozens” to testify that money from Fauci’s department did indeed fund gain-of-function research.
Paul, in his letter, cited a 2017 paper on experiments performed at the lab that referenced an NIAID award and included research “in which the spike genes from two uncharacterized bat SARS-related coronavirus strains, Rs4231 and Rs7327, were combined with the genomic backbone of another SARS-related coronavirus to create novel chimeric SARS-related viruses.”
He also wrote that “these experiments combined genetic information from different SARS-related coronaviruses and combined them to create novel, artificial viruses able to infect human cells.”
He wrote that contrary to Fauci’s contention, “this research, conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and funded under NIAID Award R01AI110964, fits the definition of gain-of-function research.”
The referral comes after Paul and Fauci sparred again during the latter’s testimony before a Senate committee last week in which the Kentucky Republican accused the immunologist of lying to Congress.
Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin noted last week after Paul and Fauci battled back and forth that the senator is right.
“Hey guys, [Rand Paul] was right and Fauci was wrong,” he tweeted.
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.
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) July 20, 2021
“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,” he added.
“SorryNotSorry if that doesn’t fit your favorite narrative.”
During the most recent hearing, Paul reminded Fauci that lying to Congress is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, saying that “gain-of-function research was done entirely at the Wuhan institute” by a Chinese researcher and “she was funded by the NIH.”
Paul made reference to comments by Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, in which he said in May, “This research matches, indeed, epitomizes the definition of ‘gain-of-function research of concern’ for which federal funding was ‘paused’ in 2014-2017.”
“I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci said. “This paper that you are referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain-of-function.”
Paul asked, “When you take an animal virus and you increase its transmissibility to humans, you’re saying that’s not gain-of-function?”
Fauci responded, “That is correct, and Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about.”
The senator said, “They’re gain-of-function viruses because they were animal viruses that became more transmissible in humans, and you funded it. You won’t admit the truth.”
“If anyone is lying here, senator, it is you,” Fauci told Paul, adding, “This has been evaluated multiple times by qualified people to not fall under the gain-of-function definition. I have not lied before Congress.”