Rand Paul announces 'official criminal referral,' says email shows Fauci COVID testimony 'absolutely a lie'

Unredacted email 'directly contradicts' Fauci's testimony about gain-of-function research: senator

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has announced an "official criminal referral" to the Department of Justice with regard to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Paul pointed to an email from February 2020 in which Fauci detailed a call with British medical researcher Jeremy Farrar, who was director of the Wellcome Trust at the time. According to Fauci, those on the task-force call, including Francis Collins, former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and other "highly credible" scientists with expertise in evolutionary biology, expressed concern about the "fact upon viewing the sequences of several isolates of the nCoV, there were mutations in the virus that would be most unusual to have evolved naturally in the bats and that there was a suspicion that this mutation was intentionally inserted."

"The suspicion was heightened by the fact that scientists in Wuhan University are known to have been working on gain-of-function experiments to determine the molecular mechanisms associated with bat viruses adapting to human infection, and the outbreak originated in Wuhan," Fauci wrote, according to a screenshot of the newly unredacted email shared by RealClearPolitics White House reporter Philip Wegmann. 


Sen. Rand Paul points toward Fauci during a line of questioning

Sen. Rand Paul questions Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing about the federal response to monkeypox on Sept. 14, 2022. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

"This directly contradicts everything he said in committee hearing to me, denying absolutely that they funded any gain of function, and it’s absolutely a lie. That’s why I sent an official criminal referral to the DOJ," Paul wrote on "X," formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday.

In July 2021, Paul reminded Fauci, the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and medical adviser to the president, that lying to Congress is a federal crime, suggesting that the NIAID director had done so with regard to COVID-19 gain-of-function research conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

Dr. Fauci responds to questions from Sen. Rand Paul during hearing

Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to questions during a Senate hearing about the federal response to COVID-19 on Jan. 11, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Greg Nash / Pool / Getty Images)

During a heated exchange, Fauci insisted he had "never lied before Congress" during prior testimony in May, telling Paul that "you don't know what you're talking about." Fauci further denied that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded gain-of-function research, despite Paul citing a journal article titled "Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses."


Paul, who graduated from Duke University School of Medicine and was a practicing doctor before being elected to Congress, noted how the paper’s author credits the NIH and lists the actual number of the grant given by the NIH. The author took two bat coronavirus spike genes and combined them with SARs-related backbone to create new viruses that are not found in nature, and the lab-created viruses were then shown to replicate in humans, Paul said during the July congressional hearing.

"Viruses that in nature only infect animals were manipulated in the Wuhan lab to gain the function of infecting humans," he said. 

Sen. Rand Paul grills Fauci during congressional hearing

Sen. Rand Paul questions Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill on July 20, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite / Pool / AFP via Getty Images)

Fauci said the paper to which Paul referred "was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function."


"Let’s read from the NIH definition of ‘gain of function,'" Paul said. "This is your definition that you guys wrote. It says that ‘scientific research that increases the transmissibility among mammals is gain of function.’ They took animal viruses that only occur in animals, and they increased their transmissibility to humans. How you can say that’s not gain of function – it’s a dance, and you’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility for 4 million people dying around the world from a pandemic."