It’s a pointless move that will go nowhere, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) felt it needed to be done anyway.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sen. Paul sent a criminal referral to Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Department of Justice (DOJ) last week over Dr. Anthony Fauci’s allegedly false testimony before Congress that he had not facilitated the funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
Fauci testified on May 11 that he never funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he has been in charge of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for years, but Paul claimed this was a lie, citing a writeup of the research and the most commonly accepted definition of “gain-of-function” research, which describes the genetic modification of a virus or bacteria to make it more transmissible, or in some cases weaponized, as the Louisville Courier Journal explains.
Fauci testified again on Tuesday, and the testimony grew contentious as he argued with Paul about whether the Wuhan research could be classified as gain-of-function and whether it could have contributed to the pandemic. Ultimately, Fauci refused to retract his statement, and Paul said he would send the criminal referral.
The funding trail
Paul pointed last week to comments made last spring by Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University. “This research matches, indeed, epitomizes the definition of ‘gain-of-function research of concern’ for which federal funding was ‘paused’ in 2014-2017,” Ebright had said, according to the Examiner.
But Fauci just said the research was “peer-reviewed” positively and others had said it was not gain-of-function.
Citing the NIH’s RePORTER website, the Examiner reported Saturday that the agency had allocated a total of $15.2 million to Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance over several years, and $3.74 million of that money, the Examiner said, went “toward understanding bat coronavirus emergence.”
Daszak also reportedly sent at least $600,000 to a researcher in the Wuhan lab, who published a paper in 2017 about the research, which took the SARS virus and modified it to be more transmissible. During Fauci’s testimony, Paul had a copy of the research in his hand and said it was proof that gain-of-function research had been funded.
Even though Daszak was aware that research on genetically modified bat viruses was being done in Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, he parroted the line that it would have been “extremely unlikely” for COVID-19 to have come from the Wuhan lab, the Examiner noted.
A shot in the dark
At least one U.S. intelligence agency has said it’s leaning toward a lab leak as the origin of the virus, and President Joe Biden in May ordered investigative efforts to be “redoubled” for at least 90 days.
But will accurate results be offered, or will the agencies just tell Biden what he wants to hear, which is that China did not leak this virus from a lab intentionally or unintentionally?
Finding the truth is about as likely as the DOJ bringing criminal charges against Fauci. Fat chance.