Sen. Rand Paul has intensified his criticism of Anthony Fauci, revealing Wednesday that the nation’s top infectious diseases expert lied to Congress and should face a five-year prison sentence.
The senator has said for months that Fauci, who serves as the president’s chief medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, lied to Congress about whether the National Institute of Health (NIH) funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Mediate reported. Gain-of-function research refers to the process of changing pathogens to test scientific theories, develop technologies and find treatments.
Paul made the revelations again on Fox this week.
“It’s a felony punishable by five years in jail,” Paul said in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I don’t think Biden Department of Justice will do anything with it, but … it is very dangerous to have public officials who we need to have trust incoming and lying to us. But he has lied dozens of times. Usually, he tells us it’s for our own good.”
“He has dissembled,” Paul said in Wednesday’s interview. “He has obfuscated. There are other, nicer words, but he has definitely lied to the American public, and he should be held responsible. But not just that – the judgment that we should continue to fund this lab and the virus that in all likelihood came from the lab, I think it is such incredibly poor judgment that he should be immediately removed.”
The theory that the coronavirus leaked from a lab has been dismissed in the past, but is gaining traction as a possible explanation for the origins of the virus.
Paul also mentioned that Fauci had stated in 2012 that gain-of-function research was worth the risk of a pandemic. The senator said he found it astounding to believe that a person with that mindset is still in charge of research for the U.S. government.
On Monday, the Intercept reported findings from 900 pages of material released from an active Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that details the work of the New York-based non-profit EcoHealth Alliance with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The trove of documents, according to the Intercept, uncovered new specifics into a pair of grant proposals that received U.S. tax dollars from Fauci’s NIAID.
While the existence of the first grant awarded to EcoHealth Alliance, “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence,” had already been reported and used to challenge Dr. Fauci for NIAID funding for gain-of-function research, documents from The Intercept expanded the public scope of the research conducted in Wuhan beyond bats. The annual grant of roughly $600,000 ran from 2014 to 2019. For the first three years of the grant, funding for “gain-of-function” research — wherein scientists extract viruses from the wild and engineer them to infect humans to study potential therapeutics such as vaccines — was banned.
Meanwhile Fauci was spotted with a naked face on Tuesday while attending a book party for ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl at the high-end DC Italian spot Cafe Milano, Politico reported. The outlet noted that Fauci would wear or remove the mask depending on who was around him.
“I said, ‘You seem pretty ambivalent about your mask’ because no one else was wearing one,” Quinn, an attendee told Politico. “He said, ‘I just decided that if anyone came up that I didn’t know, I would put my mask on.’”
Fauci has come under fire from conservatives and liberals alike for his policies, which have been relatively inconsistent since the pandemic began.