Rand Paul says he’ll seek criminal referral against Fauci

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Sen. Rand Paul said he will seek a criminal referral from the Justice Department against Dr. Anthony Fauci over allegations that the National Institutes of Health funded research in the lab in China where the coronavirus was first reported in late 2019.

“I will be sending a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because he has lied to Congress,” Paul (R-Ky.) told Fox News’ Sean Hannity show Tuesday night.

“We have scientists that will line 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,” Paul said.

“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 said.

The Kentucky Republican’s appearance on the show came just hours after he and Fauci engaged in a fiery back-and-forth at a Senate hearing over the funding of “gain of function” research at the Wuhan Virology Institute. 

Paul and Fauci had a fiery showdown at a Senate hearing over research at the Wuhan lab.J. Scott Applewhite – Pool via C

Paul prefaced his questions to Fauci by reminding him that lying to Congress is a felony.

He then asked Fauci, the director of the NIH and a top medical adviser to President Biden, if he wanted to retract a statement from May denying that the NIH funded research at the lab. 

“Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement. This paper that you’re referring to was judged by qualified staff, up and down the chain, as not being gain-of-function,” Fauci answered at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing.

Paul argued that a 2015 paper co-authored by Dr. Shi Zhengli, a researcher at the lab known for her work with bats, proved that the NIH funded studies on increasing the transmissibility of animal viruses to humans. 

The senator at the hearing said Shi’s work fits the definition of “gain of function” research. 

Rand Paul will seek a criminal referral from the Justice Department against Anthony Fauci over allegations about Wuhan.Stefani Reynolds/POOL/EPA-EFE/Sh

“They took animal viruses that only occur in animals and they increased their transmissibility to humans,” Paul said, referring to scientists at the Wuhan lab.

But Fauci said what Paul described is “molecularly impossible.”

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