Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Tuesday that he will seek a criminal referral against Dr. Anthony Fauci following a brutal jousting session between the two during a Senate hearing.
Paul made his comment during an appearance on the Fox News show “Hannity.”
“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. Is it your belief based on the evidence, senator, that he lied before Congress and broke the law?” host Sean Hannity asked.
“Yes, and I will be sending a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because he has lied to Congress. We have scientists that will line up by the dozens to say that the research he was funding was gain of function,” Paul said.
Gain-of-function research takes place when researchers studying a pathogen, such as a virus, work to make it more lethal.
Fauci, the longtime director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claimed the research he supported at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China did not involve gain of function, while Paul insisted it fit the federal definition of such research to a T.
A criminal referral takes place when a member of the House or Senate requests the Justice Department to investigate an alleged violation of criminal law.
During his appearance on “Hannity,” Paul said Fauci denies that gain-of-function research took place “because he has a self-interest to cover his tracks and to cover his connection to Wuhan lab.”
A leak — inadvertent or otherwise — from the lab in Wuhan is suspected as the cause of the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” Paul said.
Paul said Fauci is trying to scurry away from any responsibility for the outbreak of the coronavirus.
“I think the reasoning behind him being so resistant, so livid and so full of ad hominem is he realizes that once the public realizes that the [National Institutes of Health] under his leadership funded the Wuhan lab — that is beyond question they did, the NIH funded the lab — but once the public figures out that they were doing very, very dangerous research there, gain-of-function research, taking dangerous animal viruses and making them more transmissible to humans, once everybody puts this together, he realizes where the blame is going to attach,” the senator said.
“He has at least tangential responsibility. If this came from the lab that he was funding, my goodness, can you imagine the moral culpability that the man has?”
Paul said that Fauci has long downplayed risks to humanity that occur in the name of science.
“But you also have to place this in context. Since 2012, he has said repeatedly that yes, an accident can happen, but the research is worth it, even if an accident were to cause a worldwide pandemic, the research is worth it,” he said.
The senator said Fauci’s logic will not wash with a public that has suffered from COVID-19.
“That judgment call is something that most Americans or people who have family members, the 4 million people who died would say, ‘You know what? Maybe that research isn’t worth it if this contagion actually came out of a lab where they are doing this research,’” Paul said.
He said that Fauci’s recently published emails reveal the truth — that Fauci steered the nation away from seeing his connection to research taking place at the Wuhan lab.
“From the very beginning, I think he was covering up because he realized that there would be a great deal of culpability, of blame attached to him if a lab that he was funding through the NIH turned out to be the source of a pandemic that caused 4 million people to die,” Paul said.
“That could be the worst governmental decision in the history of the world,” he said.