Sen. Rand Paul has referred Dr. Anthony Fauci to the Justice Department for investigation into possible criminal prosecution for allegedly lying under oath to Congress about his knowledge of gain-of-function research conducted at China’s Wuhan virus lab.
In a letter to District of Columbia U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, the Kentucky Republican requested that the DOJ investigate whether the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), broke the law with false statements made in congressional testimony under a statute punishable by time in federal prison.
“Before Congress, Dr. Fauci denied funding gain-of-function research, to the press he claims to have a dispassionate view on the lab leak hypothesis, and in private he acknowledges gain-of-function research at WIV (Wuhan Institute of Virology) to his colleagues,” Paul wrote.
“A congressional hearing, however, is not the place for a public servant to play political games – especially when the health and well-being of American citizens is on the line. For this reason, I request that you investigate whether Dr. Fauci’s statements to Congress on May 11, 2021, violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001 or any other statute,” Paul added.
Fauci testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on May 11, 2021, saying that “the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
In a subsequent hearing, Paul “warned Dr. Fauci of the criminal implications of lying to Congress and offered him an opportunity to recant his previous statements,” the senator noted in the letter.
“In response, Dr. Fauci stated that he had ‘never lied before the Congress’ and ‘d[id] not retract that statement,'” Paul wrote.
The Kentucky senator said Fauci’s testimony is inconsistent with emails that have since come to light that show Fauci knew of gain-of-function research in early 2020.
On Feb. 1, 2020, Fauci sent an email, which the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, recently released, “acknowledging concerns that COVID-19 may have been genetically engineered because gain-of-function research was taking place in Wuhan before the pandemic.”
In the email – written weeks before a federal COVID emergency was first declared – Fauci wrote that “scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments to determine that molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan.”
Further, gain-of-function research in Wuhan was funded by the agency that Fauci led, Paul noted.
Paul’s letter highlights a paper titled “Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus,” which described in-depth the research carried out at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and funded in part through NIAID.
The paper’s author, Dr. Shi Zhengli, details the research in which the spike genes from two uncharacterized bat SARS-related coronavirus strains were combined with the genomic backbone of another SARS-related coronavirus to create novel chimeric SARS-related viruses that showed cytopathic effects in primate epithelial cells and replication in human epithelial cells, according to Paul.
“These experiments combined genetic information from different SARS-related coronaviruses and combined them to create novel, artificial viruses able to infect human cells,” Paul wrote.
The experiments, funded by NIH, meet the definition of gain-of-function research, the senator concluded.
In his letter, Paul also references a report published on June 14, 2023, that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded the WIV and Wuhan University received NIH funding.
The report noted that the NIH funded a WIV project titled “Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence,” which included “genetic experiments to combine naturally occurring bat coronaviruses with SARS and MERS viruses, resulting in hybridized coronavirus strains.”
Additionally, the GAO determined that the NIH funded Wuhan University’s collaboration with the WIV on viral detection in the Yunnan province.
Paul stated that Fauci’s omissions could fall under a criminal statute that says whoever “makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” as part of “any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate” is subject to criminal fines and imprisonment of up to five years.
Neither the NIH nor Fauci responded to a request for comment from Fox News Digital by time of publication.