OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is not backing down in his fight against Anthony Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
During an interview on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” Paul continued to demand that Fauci be held accountable for his alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Paul said he believes Fauci’s unwillingness to acknowledge certain things about the pandemic and the origins of the virus could land him in serious trouble.
“Yeah, I think Fauci deserves culpability and history is going to judge him very poorly because he made the judgment to fund this research,” Paul said. “It’s dangerous research. He doesn’t want to call it gain of function, but most other scientists do call it gain of function, in Wuhan, in an opaque totalitarian country. And in the end, there was a leak from the lab and millions of people died worldwide.”
Paul also said that he believes Fauci was untruthful at times during his testimony before Congress, adding that “it’s a felony punishable by five years in jail” if someone is actually charged with lying under oath.
Earlier this month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said Republicans are building their case against Fauci.
“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 Jordan. “He said he doesn’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 — there could be a referral, but you would refer to the Biden Justice Department,” Jordan responded. “I don’t know that — they’re going to pursue that, but you can definitely do that. You could have to have one of the committees, the Senate Judiciary Committee could do 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, Chairman Wenstrup did. I thought he was — I thought he was great. As were the other witnesses that were brought in.”
Fauci says he’s received death threats over the GOP’s call to have him prosecuted.
“I mean, they don’t like to have me getting death threats all the time. Every time someone gets up and spouts some nonsense that’s misinformation, disinformation, and outright lies, somebody somewhere decides they want to do harm to me and or my family,” he said. “That’s the part of it that is really unfortunate.”
“The rest of it is just insanity, the things they’re saying. But it does have a negative effect when people take it seriously and take it out on you and your family,” he added.
In December 2021, Sen. Paul said he referred Fauci to the U.S. Department of Justice for potential false statements made before Congress.
“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.
“So I don’t have a lot of hope that Merrick Garland is objectively looking at Fauci’s lying,” Paul continued, followed by a pointed 12-word statement about the NIAID director: “Fauci should go to prison for five years for lying to Congress.”