Senator Asks DOJ to Investigate Fauci, WSJ Editorial Board Says Congress Must Probe Taxpayer Funding of Virus Research in Wuhan
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sent a criminal referral on Dr. Anthony Fauci to the U.S. Department of Justice. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal editorial board called on Congress to investigate National Institutes of Health funding of controversial research in Wuhan, China.
Paul is asking Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Fauci for allegedly lying to Congress when he said the National Institutes of Health (NIH) “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Last week, Paul asked Fauci if he wanted to retract the statement he made to Congress during a May 11 hearing. Paul said, “Dr. Fauci, knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11, where you claimed the NIH never funded gain-of-function research and move on?”
Fauci replied he would not retract the statement and was adamant that he has never lied before Congress.
“You do not know what you’re talking about, quite frankly, and I want to say that officially,” Fauci said. “You do not know what you’re talking about … If anybody is lying here, senator, it is you.”
According to the Washington Examiner, in his letter, Paul told Garland that a 2017 research paper on experiments carried out at the Wuhan lab referenced a grant from the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) — of which Fauci is the director.
Paul said the paper discussed 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.”
The senator told the DOJ that contrary to Fauci’s contention, “this research, conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and funded under NIAID Award R01AI110964, fits the definition of gain-of-function research.”
Garland can approve or deny the referral, which only requests the investigation.
WSJ editorial board calls for Congressional investigation
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial board on Sunday called on Congress to “thoroughly investigate the process that led to the approval of money for the WIV [Wuhan Institute of Virology] and possible gain-of-function research.”
The board also said Congress should debate limits on this kind of research in the U.S. and push for international standards.
The editors wrote:
“No one should expect the Chinese Communist Party to cooperate with a real inquiry into the origins of COVID-19. More disappointing is the lack of candor from American scientists and officials whose conflicts of interest deserve more scrutiny.”
The board joined others who previously criticised a World Health Organization (WHO) report from earlier this year concluding SARS Co-V2 likely did not leak from a lab. After more evidence surfaced contradicting the WHO report, President Biden in May ordered another investigation.
HUGE! President Biden Wednesday ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the SARS-CoV-2, including whether the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China. #TheDefender https://t.co/zr6oU0C3yC
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) May 27, 2021
Last week, Biden administration officials involved in the investigation said they now believe the theory that the virus accidentally escaped from a lab in Wuhan is at least as credible as the possibility that it emerged naturally in the wild.
The WSJ editors said the “U.S. knows something about the research conducted at the WIV, because American taxpayer dollars helped fund it.” They said the NIH gave almost $600,000 to the WIV through a nonprofit over several years to study bat coronaviruses.
They said Fauci’s claim that the coronavirus research didn’t meet the federal government definition of gain-of-function research may be technically true, but some scientists think the government definition is too limited and can allow de facto gain-of-function research to bypass safety protocols.
They cited Rutgers molecular biologist Richard Ebright who said the NIH-funded work “was — unequivocally — gain-of-function research.”
According to the WSJ, democrats and much of the media will avoid demanding further investigation into the NIH-funded research because Paul and the populist right have taken up this cause.
“Such groupthink is what prevented the lab-leak theory from being treated seriously for more than a year,” the editors wrote. “Making the same mistake twice is inexcusable.”