Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci attends a coronavirus update briefing Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is sending a criminal referral to the Department of Justice accusing Dr. Anthony Fauci of lying to Congress about his role in funding research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that possibly caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “should be punished,” Paul told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday night.

Hannity noted Paul’s questioning of Fauci in a Senate hearing earlier Tuesday in which the senator emphasized that 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?”

“Yes, and I will be sending a letter to the Department of Justice asking for a criminal referral because he has lied to Congress,” Paul replied.

“We have scientists that were lined up by the dozens to say that the research he was funding was gain-of-function,” said Paul, referring to research that increases the virulence and transmissiblity of viruses to humans to prepare vaccines and treatments in case of an outbreak.

“He’s doing this because he has a self-interest to cover his tracks and to cover his connection to Wuhan lab,” the senator said.

“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.”

At the hearing, Paul told Fauci “there will be responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself.”

“I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, senator.” Fauci shot back.

See the Fox News interview:

See the exchange Tuesday between Paul and Fauci:

In May, Paul said in an interview that while there’s no hard proof yet regarding the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was becoming clearer that Fauci “could be culpable for the entire pandemic.”

In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” he pointed out that the sole U.S. representative of the World Health Organization team investigating the origin of the pandemic was Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance.

Daszak’s organization was the recipient of funds from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“So NIH gave the money to EcoHealth … and the head of EcoHealth – they got him to investigate whether Wuhan was doing anything inappropriate in their lab,” Paul said.

“But if they were, then wouldn’t he be culpable?” the Kentucky lawmaker asked. “Doesn’t he have a self-interest in smoothing things over?”

Ultimately, however, Paul said, there’s someone else who bears more responsibility.

“Dr. Fauci could be culpable for the entire pandemic,” he said.

In May, Paul confronted Fauci with the lab-leak theory, asking him directly if the NIH funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab. Fauci declared “the NIH and NIAID categorically has not funded gain-of-function research to be conducted in the Wuhan Institute.”

What is clear is that NIH and the branch Fauci has directed since 1984, NIAID, provided funding to the Wuhan lab.

The Wuhan lab’s chief scientist, Dr. Shi Zhengli, notes funding by NIAID in a research article published Nov. 30, 2017, titled “Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus”.

The question is whether or not that research was “gain-of-function,” for which the U.S. temporarily banned funding in 2014.

Paul points to a review of Shi’s paper by MIT biologist Kevin Esvelt that concluded “certain techniques that the researchers used seemed to meet the definition of gain-of-function.”

In May 2017, Americans scientists who had received grants from Fauci’s NIAID headlined a conference hosted by the Wuhan lab focusing on “gain of function research and gene editing,” the National Pulse reported Wednesday.

Fauci is seen on video at a January 2018 NIAID Advisory Council meeting announcing the reinstatement of gain-of-function research and defending its use, the Gateway Pundit reported.

See the video:

In May, former New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade wrote a lengthy analysis of the origin of the pandemic in which he concluded that while hard proof is lacking — due largely to China blocking access — the available evidence overwhelmingly points to a leak from the Wuhan lab.

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Source: World Net Daily

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