Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) has delivered on his promise to criminally refer Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, to the Department of Justice for allegedly lying to Congress.
Last week, Paul told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would send a criminal referral to the Justice Department alleging that Fauci lied to Congress about whether the National Institutes of Health funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
"He's lying about whether or not he funded gain-of-function research, and yes, he should be punished," Paul said.
What are the details?
Paul sent a criminal referral to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday, according to the Washington Examiner.
"I write to urge the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into testimony made to the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on May 11, 2021," Paul wrote in the referral, which the Examiner obtained.
The National Institutes of Health has denied they funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.
But Paul told Garland that grants from the NIH to EcoHealth Alliance, which were eventually sent to the Wuhan lab for the purposes of conducting research on bat coronaviruses, "fits the definition of gain-of-function research."
More from the Examiner:
NIH's RePORTER website said the agency provided $15.2 million to Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Alliance over the years, with $3.74 million toward understanding bat coronavirus emergence. Daszak maintained a long working relationship with Wuhan lab "bat lady" Shi Zhengli, sending her lab at least $600,000 in NIH funding. Daszak was also part of the World Health Organization-China team that dismissed the lab leak hypothesis as "extremely unlikely" earlier this year.
Paul told Garland that a 2017 paper on Shi's experiments at the Wuhan lab, which cited an NIAID award, included research "in which the spike genes from two uncharacterized bat SARS-related coronavirus strains, Rs4231 and Rs7327, were combined with the genomic backbone of another SARS-related coronavirus to create novel chimeric SARS-related viruses" and that "these experiments combined genetic information from different SARS-related coronaviruses and combined them to create novel, artificial viruses able to infect human cells."
According to the Examiner, Paul also informed Garland of comments made by molecular biologist Dr. Richard Ebright, who said in May, "This research matches, indeed, epitomizes the definition of 'gain-of-function research of concern' for which federal funding was 'paused' in 2014-2017."
What happens from here?
Paul asked Garland to review whether Fauci has violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which makes it a crime to, during the course of "any investigation or review" conducted by Congress, make "any materially false, fictions, or fraudulent statement or representation."
"I ask that you investigate whether Dr. Fauci's statements to Congress on May 11, 2021 violated this statute or any other," Paul said.
However, the criminal referral does not mean the Justice Department will open a formal investigation into the matter. A referral is simply a request for further investigation.