Two leading Republican Congress members have said it is "imperative" for President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor to testify on allegations of a man-made origin to COVID-19.
Louisiana House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, the top Republican of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and House Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer, wrote jointly to those committees' senior Democrats, chairman James Clyburn and Carolyn Maloney, demanding that Dr Anthony Fauci give evidence.
They wrote that thousands of Fauci's emails, released this week under a freedom of information request, "debunk many Democrats’ claims from the past year" — including that the top medic was "muzzled" by former president Donald Trump.
"More importantly, the emails contain new evidence regarding the origins of COVID-19, including the possibility it leaked from a US taxpayer-funded laboratory," they wrote.
"It is now imperative that Dr. Fauci come before our Committees to provide information related to the origins of the novel coronavirus as well as the US government’s role in funding research that may have contributed to the development of the novel coronavirus."
Widespread accusations that the deadly coronavirus strain may have been genetically-engineered in a lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China have been given new impetus by Fauci's admission in one email that he and other experts "find the genome inconsistent with expectations from evolutionary theory".
But Republican Senator Rand Paul told Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Wednesday that Fauci at the least bore "moral culpability".
"In the research done by the bat scientist in Wuhan, she gives him credit. She lists the exact NIH grant with a ten-numeral disclaimer or ID number, listing the money and thanking the NIH for the money," The Kentucky senator said.
"It's clearly 'gain of function'. There are several scientists who are in this field, cellular biologists, they all say that taking a SARS virus and adding an S-protein to it to make it infect human cells, that is the very definition of gain of function," Paul continued. "It's very dangerous. We shouldn't be doing it here or there. But Dr. Fauci has denied it to this day."
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) June 3, 2021
Paul said Fauci's emails showed "he was acknowledging that it was gain of function," and "Nobody was questioning it".
"The scientific community needs to look at this, because he hides behind this veil of the lab coat that nobody can question him," Paul charged. "It absolutely was gain of function research. He was funding it. And to this day, he is still saying he would do it again."
Paul earlier tweeted a more succinct response to the revelation of Fauci's emails:
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) June 2, 2021
Trump seized on the email release in a statement, repeating his earlier calls for China to pay enormous reparations to other nations for 3.5 million deaths and the enormous economic damage caused by the pandemic.
"Now everyone, even the so-called 'enemy,' are beginning to say that President Trump was right about the China Virus coming from the Wuhan Lab," Trump said. "The correspondence between Dr. Fauci and China speaks too loudly for anyone to ignore. China should pay Ten Trillion Dollars to America, and the World, for the death and destruction they have caused!".