Rand Paul, Dr. Fauci trade accusations of ‘lying’ during tense Senate hearing

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) traded accusations of “lying” about gain-of-function research during a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

During his line of questioning, Paul asserted that Fauci had lied to Congress during previous testimonies regarding the NIAID funding of gain-of-function research in China. Paul cited a paper on research about bat coronaviruses, insisting that U.S. money had essentially gone to the controversial type of research, which Fauci strongly denies.

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“I have never lied before the Congress, and I do not retract that statement,” Fauci responded. He added that the research Paul referenced was “judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function.” 

“You do not know what you are talking about quite frankly and I want to say that officially,” Fauci said to Paul.

Paul said that the NIH “defines… away” work that was “essentially gain-of-function.” “You’re dancing around this because you’re trying to obscure responsibility,” Paul added.  

Fauci went on to deny any suggestion that the NIH may be in some way responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, asserting that the viruses created by the research in question would be “molecularly impossible.” Paul denied making that assertion.

“You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual[s], I totally resent that and if anybody is lying here, senator, it is you,” Fauci said. 

The hearing comes as worry over the Delta variant spreads across the country, with some counties bringing back mask mandates even for vaccinated people.

Los Angeles County on Friday ordered citizens to wear masks indoors, regardless of whether they were vaccinated, becoming the first major U.S. jurisdiction to backpedal on relaxing virus rules. 

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Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who served under former President Donald Trump, said that the CDC should revise their mask recommendations for those who are vaccinated in areas with surging virus cases.

“Instead of vax it OR mask it, the emerging data suggests CDC should be advising to vax it AND mask it in areas with [increasing] cases and positivity- until we see numbers going back down again,” Adams said in a tweet. 

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