Paul cited a newly revealed February 2020 email in which Fauci described a phone call with Jeremy Farrar, a British medical researcher who at the time was the director of the Welcome Trust.
In the email shared by RealClearPolitics White House reporter Philip Wegmann, Fauci discussed with other “highly credible” scientists the "fact upon viewing the sequences of several isolates of the nCoV, there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was a suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted."
Fauci wrote in the email, "The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan."
Paul shared Wegmann's screenshot of the email on Saturday writing, "This directly contradicts everything he said in [the] committee hearing to me, denying absolutely that they funded any gain of function, and it’s absolutely a lie. That’s why I sent an official criminal referral to the DOJ."
According to the Congressional Research Service, "a congressional criminal referral is a non-binding communication to the DOJ, made either by a congressional committee or by individual Members of Congress, that specifically articulates evidence supporting the possible commission of a crime and asks the DOJ to either conduct further investigation or otherwise pursue the matter."Fox News chronicled that in July 2021, Paul reminded Fauci, who at the time was the director of NIAID, that lying to Congress was a federal crime, alleging that Fauci had done so regarding gain-of-function research at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Fauci also claimed he "never lied before Congress" telling Paul "…you don't know what you're talking about," and denied that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded gain-of-function research, even after Paul cited a journal article titled "Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses," which lists the grants given by the NIH and describes how the author spliced two bat coronavirus spike genes with SARs-related backbone to create new viruses that are not found in nature.
Fauci then claimed the paper "was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function."
Paul responded, "Let’s read from the NIH definition of ‘gain of function.' This is your definition that you guys wrote. It says that ‘scientific research that increases the transmissibility among mammals is gain of function.’”
“They took animal viruses that only occur in animals, and they increased their transmissibility to humans," the senator continued. "How you can say that’s not gain of function? It’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic."
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