auci, Sen. Paul in fiery exchange during Senate panel

During a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated exchange about funding at the Wuhan virology lab. When Paul asked Fauci about his previous testimony on the issue, Fauci said, “Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly.”

Video transcript

RAND PAUL: Dr. Fauci, knowing that it is a crime to lie to Congress, do you wish to retract your statement of May 11, where you claim that the NIH never funded gain of function research in Wuhan?

ANTHONY FAUCI: Senator Paul, I have never lied to before the Congress.

- Microphone.

- Your microphone.

ANTHONY FAUCI: Senator Paul, I have never lied before the Congress and I do not retract that statement. This paper that you are referring to was judged by qualified staff up and down the chain as not being gain of function. What was--


ANTHONY FAUCI: Let me finish.

RAND PAUL: Take an animal virus and you increase its transmissiblity to humans.


RAND PAUL: You're saying that's not gain of function?

ANTHONY FAUCI: Yeah, that is correct. And Senator Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, quite frankly. And I want to say that officially. You do not know what you are talking about. OK? You get one person--


ANTHONY FAUCI: Madam Chair, can I answer?

RAND PAUL: 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 increase their transmissibility to humans. How you can say that is not gain of function.


RAND PAUL: It's a dance and you're dancing around this, because you're trying to obscure a responsibility for four million people dying around the world from a pandemic.

- And let's listen to Dr. Fauci.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I have to-- Well, now you're getting into something. If the point that you were making is that the-- the grant that was funded as a sub-award from Eco Health to Wuhan created SARS-CoV-2, that's where you were getting. Let me finish.

RAND PAUL: We don't know. We don't know--

ANTHONY FAUCI: Wait a minute. I can--


RAND PAUL: --the lab, but all the evidence is pointing that it came from the lab and there will be responsibility for those who funded the lab, including yourself.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I totally--

- This committee will allow the witness to respond.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I totally resent the lie that you are now propagating, Senator. Because if you look at the viruses that were used in the experiments that were given in the annual reports that were published in the literature, it is molecularly impossible.

RAND PAUL: No one's saying those viruses caused it.

ANTHONY FAUCI: It is molecularly--

RAND PAUL: --those virus caused the pandemic. What we're alleging is the gain of function research was going on in that lab and NIH funded it.

ANTHONY FAUCI: That is not--

RAND PAUL: You can't get away from it. It meets your definition and you are obfuscating the truth.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I'm not obfuscating the truth. You are the one--

- Senator Paul's time is expired, but I will allow the witness to finish.

ANTHONY FAUCI: Let me just finish. I want everyone to understand that if you look at those viruses, and that's judged by qualified virologists and evolutionary biologists, those viruses are molecularly impossible--

RAND PAUL: No one's saying they are.

ANTHONY FAUCI: --to result in SARS-CoV-2.

RAND PAUL: No one's saying those viruses caused the pandemic.

- Senator Paul.

RAND PAUL: We're saying they are gain of function viruses because they were animal viruses that became more transmissible in human and you funded it, but you won't admit the truth.

ANTHONY FAUCI: And you imply--

- Senator Paul, your time is expired and I will allow witnesses who come before this committee to respond.

ANTHONY FAUCI: And you are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individual. I totally resent that.

RAND PAUL: It could have. It could have.

ANTHONY FAUCI: And if anybody is lying here, Senator, it is you.