Even with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s retirement, Senator Rand Paul is not relinquishing his position.
During Fauci’s tenure as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Kentucky Republican and the former director clashed over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the Daily Mail of the United Kingdom reported on Monday, six months after Fauci’s resignation, Paul still wants him investigated for possible perjury.
Paul verified the allegation on Twitter on Monday evening.
“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 to Attorney General Merrick Garland last week citing Fauci’s testimony during a 2021 Senate hearing. 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 located 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 referred to a research paper written by Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists that discussed findings from “gain of function research” and acknowledged NIH funding.
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.”
At a Senate hearing in July 2021, however, it was revealed that the NIH had funded “gain-of-function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and Senator Paul gave Dr. Fauci the opportunity to retract his testimony from May.
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