Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has had some notable confrontations recently with Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden. Following the latest round of Fauci’s testimony before the Senate, Paul told Sean Hannity on his Fox News show on July 20 that he would send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice requesting an investigation into Fauci’s possible criminal liability.
Specifically, Paul said he was planning on the referral because of Fauci’s statements to Congress related to the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic and funding for gain-of-function viral research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.
“He’s lying about whether or not he funded gain-of-function research, and yes, he should be punished,” Paul told Hannity.
The Washington Examiner reported that it obtained a copy on July 21 of Paul’s criminal referral letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“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,” Sen. Paul wrote.
Paul asked for the DOJ to determine if Fauci has violated 18 USC §1001 or any other federal law in the referral. Section 1001 provides criminal liability for making “any materially false, fictions, or fraudulent statement or representation” during any Congressional “investigation or review.”
Paul’s letter focuses on Fauci’s testimony before Congress on May 11. During his sworn testimony, Fauci denied that the NIH funded any gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab at any time. Paul questioned Fauci specifically about NIH funding going to an intermediary for the study at issue.
In response to these specific follow-up questions, Fauci said, “The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
In describing the research funded in the Wuhan lab, Paul cited statements made earlier this year by molecular biologist Dr. Richard Ebright. Paul quoted Ebright as saying, “This research matches, indeed, epitomizes the definition of ‘gain-of-function research of concern’ for which federal funding was ‘paused’ in 2014-2017.”
Paul’s referral does not require that the DOJ prosecute Fauci, nor does it mean that a criminal investigation will occur.