In another extraordinary showdown in Congress todayWhite House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci told Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky: “I didn’t lie to Congress, I never lied. Certainly not before Congress. CASE CLOSED.”
The Republican politician attacked the career scientist on the issue of “job gain research”, a duck among those who blame China for the coronavirus pandemic and subscribe to the theory – not counted by official sources – to which Covid-19 could have escaped a laboratory in Wuhan.
“Viruses which in nature only infect animals have been manipulated in the Wuhan laboratory to acquire the function of infecting humans,” Paul said during a Senate health committee hearing, education, work and pensions. “This research corresponds to the definition of research that the [National Institutes of Health] said was on a hiatus from 2014 to 2017, a hiatus in gaining office funding, but the NIH has not recognized this, defined it, and has never been the subject of ‘scrutiny.
Referring to previous clashes with Fauci, Paul added: “Dr Fauci, knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, would you like to withdraw your May 11 statement where you said the NIH never funded the research on the gain of function?
Fauci said: “Senator Paul, I never lied to Congress, and I do not withdraw this statement. This article to which you refer was judged by qualified personnel, upstream and downstream of the chain, as not being a gain of function.
Things took a turn for the worse from there.
“Senator Paul,” Fauci said, “you don’t know what you’re talking about, quite frankly, and I mean that, officially, you don’t know what you’re talking about. ”
Paul said: “The evidence shows that [the virus] came from the lab, there will be a responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself.
Fauci said he “was totally irritated[ed] the lie you are spreading now, senator, “prompting Paul to say,” No one is saying these viruses caused the pandemic. We say these are gain-of-function viruses because they are rare animal viruses that have become more transmissible in humans and you funded it. ”
Visibly angry, Fauci replied: “You imply that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I totally want it. If anyone is lying here, senator, it is you.
Paul’s time was up, but Tina Smith, a Democratic senator from Minnesota, spotted an opportunity for political rapprochement and asked Fauci if he [was] nothing more you would like to say to counter these attacks on your integrity that we have all just witnessed ”.
“Well, senator,” said Fauci, “thank you… this is a model that Senator Paul has done now in several hearings based on no reality. He was talking about gaining office, this has been evaluated several times by qualified people not to fall under the definition of job gain.
“I didn’t lie to Congress. I never lied. Certainly not before Congress. CASE CLOSED.”