Dr. Anthony Fauci and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul have long had a tense history. The tension ratcheted up again this week when Paul announced that he had referred Fauci for criminal prosecution.
Paul explained during an interview with Breitbart on Thursday that the move came in response to new evidence Fauci lied under oath when testifying before Congress.
Specifically, the Kentucky Republican pointed to an email in which Fauci summarized a phone he had early on in 2020 "when they’re just beginning to look into the [COVID-19] pandemic."
"And in that email, he basically says, 'Yes, we’re suspicious that this could be a manipulated virus because it came from a lab in Wuhan, where they do gain of function research,’ and he describes the research," Paul said.
"Well, this directly contradicts everything he said in the committee hearing to me, denying absolutely that they funded any gain of function, and it’s absolutely a lie," the lawmaker continued.
Paul went on to reference an "exchange of emails between Anthony Fauci and half a dozen prominent international virologists, and these emails go back and forth."
"These virologists from around the world are saying, they’re looking at the genetic sequence of COVID-19, and they find that there are some striking, strikingly unusual characteristics of it that make it look like it’s been manipulated in the lab," Paul noted.
"And this band of close virologists that are his close buddies–and these are all people who have been proponents previously of gain of function research, creating viruses that don’t occur in nature to experimentation — they all tell him it looks manipulative," he stressed.
Paul pointed out that Fauci then summarized the virologists' concerns about manipulation and added that he shared them, something which "directly contradicts everything he said in committee hearing to me."
Paul is not alone in going after Fauci this week, as former Trump administration Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield did so as well.
Redfield said during an interview on Monday with Fox News that the contents of Fauci's email are "very disheartening and very disappointing."
"And I've said before that I'm very disappointed in the leadership that both [then-National Institute of Health (NIH) Director Francis] Collins and Fauci provided in not fostering a rigorous, aggressive, transparent scientific debate about what is really very reasonable scientific evidence that did point at this virus," Redfield complained.
"Now you have, in his own words, that one -- he recognizes the abnormality of the furin-cleavage site being problematic – and he recognizes that, in fact, contrary to some of his statements, that there was actual gain of function research going on in that laboratory," the former official continued.
"I think we have to really recognize that there was a real attempt by the leadership of NIH and some of the major scientists across the world to cover up the fact that this virus was, in fact, a consequence of science," he concluded.