OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A growing number of House Republicans are building a case against the country’s former top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who became a household name during the pandemic, for allegedly misleading Congress on several occasions.
“So, specifically before your committee and also before Rand Paul over in the Senate, Dr. Fauci has, of course, absolved himself of all funding of gain-of-function,” conservative podcaster Benny Johnson said in an interview with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan. “He said he didn’t know anything about it. It is verifiable and demonstrable that he lied. Now, there are codes in Congress. I have a code right here, 18 U.S. Code 1001.”
“Statements—false statements to Congress,” Johnson noted. “Says you can be imprisoned; says you can be imprisoned for eight years if you lie to Congress. It seems like there has never been a more clear-cut case of some individual lying to Congress.”
“Yeah, we can do it—there could be a referral, but you would refer to the Biden Justice Department,” Jordan replied. “I don’t know that — they’re going to pursue that, but you can do that. You could have one of the committees, and the Senate Judiciary Committee could make a referral. I doubt they will with the Democrats in charge.”
“We could do a referral potentially,” the Ohio Republican continued. “I would, frankly, prefer just to have Dr. Fauci come back in and take another round of questions here, but we’re building the case. You know, like, we had Dr. Redfield testify, and Chairman Wenstrup did. I thought he was—I thought he was great. As were the other witnesses that were brought in.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Republican, sent the former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases a harsh message after his retirement in December of last year.
In an interview, Fauci—who said he had no regrets about his handling of the pandemic—was asked if there was anything he would do differently about the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Likely, there is no public figure, or public health figure, that has made a greater error in judgment than Dr. Fauci. The error in judgment was to fund gain-of-function research in a totalitarian country—fun research that allowed them to create super viruses that, in all likelihood, accidentally leaked into the public and caused seven million people to die,” said Paul, a physician himself who often clashed with Fauci during Senate oversight hearings into Fauci’s responses and recommendations regarding the pandemic.
Paul accused Fauci of providing false information to Congress in December 2021 and mentioned that he intended to bring this matter to the attention of the Biden Justice Department.
In a Fox Business interview, Paul conceded that he harbors little optimism regarding the possibility of Fauci facing charges from President Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland. He said that Garland is unlikely to objectively scrutinize the congressional testimony of the then-chief White House medical adviser.
“We’ve referred him to the Department of Justice, but then again, Merrick Garland is the one now going after parents that go to school board meetings,” Paul said.
Paul continued, “So I don’t have a lot of hope that Merrick Garland is objectively looking at Fauci’s lying,” before making a pointed 12-word statement about the NIAID director: “Fauci should go to prison for five years for lying to Congress.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., earlier this year that Fauci would go to jail under any “sane system.”
“There has been no person who has done more to destroy trust in the scientific and medical community than Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told millions of Americans lies willingly, knowingly, glibly, and supremely arrogantly,” Cruz said.
“Should there be accountability? In any sane system, he would be prosecuted for lying under oath, and he would go to jail for lying under oath to Congress,” he added.