Senator lays groundwork for potential Fauci probe
Fresh from vowing to investigate chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci for his role in the Covid-19 pandemic, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has demanded that President Joe Biden’s administration preserve documents and messages that could become evidence in the potential probe.
Paul, who has sparred with Fauci in Senate hearings over government funding of potentially dangerous virus research, sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Tuesday, calling for the Covid-19 czar’s documents and communications to be saved. The demand came one day after Fauci announced that, effective in December, he would step down as Biden’s chief medical adviser and as director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
“Fauci’s resignation will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic,” Paul said after the doctor’s announcement on Monday. That will include testimony under oath concerning discussions about the possible leak of Covid-19 from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, he said. The senator previously accused Fauci of directing public funding to gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab and lying about it under oath in congressional testimony.
“Dr. Fauci misled the American people on public health guidance throughout the pandemic, lied to Congress under oath, and funneled tax dollars to fund dangerous research in communist China,” Paul told the Daily Caller on Tuesday.
However, Republicans will need to win back control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections to force such an investigation. Paul said in February that he would subpoena Fauci’s records if Republicans retake the Senate. In a CNN interview last month, Fauci said there was no reason for such a probe. “But if they want to, go ahead. My records are an open book.”
Paul requested in Tuesday’s letter that the NIH preserve all documents, data, and messages created by or shared with Fauci relating to Covid-19, including NIAID-funded research. “The American people deserve transparency and accountability from the NIH regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of Dr. Fauci’s future employment plans,” he said.
Other Republican lawmakers accused Fauci of timing his exit to just before a potentially GOP-controlled Congress starts work next January. “Dr. Fauci is conveniently resigning from his position in December, before House Republicans have an opportunity to hold him accountable for destroying our country over these past three years,” Representative Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) said on Monday. “This guy is a coward.” He added that Fauci will be held accountable whether or not he remains in public office.