Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul defended his decision to send a request for a criminal referral to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease Director Dr. Anthony Fauci Wednesday on the Vince Coglianese Show.
“I’m not holding my breath,” Paul answered when asked if he believes the DOJ will take the request seriously. “But how else do we respond, other than to show the seriousness of this?”
— The Hill (@thehill) July 22, 2021
“History is going to judge Dr. Fauci, and ultimately there will be scientists who will speak out who are not dependent on his NIH grants,” Paul continued. “This is the problem, is that almost every virologist in our country, if not the world, is dependent on NIH grants. And so $40 billion are doled out, he’s been there 40 years, you think people who might disagree with him might be afraid to speak out?”
Paul sent the request Wednesday morning after yet another spat with Fauci Tuesday during a Senate hearing. Paul once again pressed Fauci on his support for gain of function research, and accused Fauci of lying about NIH funding of gain of function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).
Paul began his questioning by reminding Fauci that lying to Congress is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The senator contends that research at the WIV funded by the NIH, via a grant to a group called EcoHealth Alliance, qualifies as gain of function research. Some scientists have agreed with this assertion. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Oversight Republicans Demand Answers From Fauci, Collins Over Grant To Wuhan Lab)
Fauci claimed Paul has “no idea” what he’s talking about, and that no NIH money sent to the WIV involved gain of function research: “Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are taking about, quite frankly and I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about.”
Gain of function research involved genetically altering pathogens to make them more infectious, more deadly or both for research purposes. A growing number of experts believe that the COVID-19 pandemic may have started as a result of the virus accidentally leaking out of the WIV after being a part of a gain of function research project.