Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul announced on Tuesday that he is seeking a criminal referral against Dr. Anthony Fauci, following a session between the two during a Senate hearing.
Paul made his comments speaking with Sean Hannity on Fox News.
“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?” 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 is medical research that alters an organism or disease, increasing its pathogenesis, transmissibility, or host range, making the virus more lethal.
Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, claimed the research his agency 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, the Western Journal reported.
A criminal referral is when a member of the House or Senate requests the Justice Department to investigate an alleged violation of criminal law.
During the show, 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.”
Many have speculated that the coronavirus pandemic originated due to a virus leak from the Wuhan lab.
“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.
He also said that Fauci is trying to run away from any responsibility for the coronavirus outbreak.
“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?”
The senator also stated that Fauci has downplayed the risks incurred by scientific research.
“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.
Paul continued by saying Fauci’s logic will not sit well with the public, who have suffered from the outbreak.
“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.
Referring to Fauci’s recently published emails, Paul said he believed Fauci steered the nation away from connecting him to the research taking place in Wuhan.
“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,” he said.
“That could be the worst governmental decision in the history of the world,” Paul concluded.