FIRST ON FOX: Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul blasted former National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci after Fauci denied allegations he froze out former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield from a key COVID-19 origins conference call.
Fauci was accused of freezing out Redfield from a February 2020 conference call regarding the origins of COVID-19 during Wednesday’s explosive hearing from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The former NIAID director rejected the allegations in a Fox News interview Thursday, saying House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan’s allegations of bribing scientists and a "freeze-out" of Redfield are "preposterous."
Paul torched Fauci in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying the former NIAID director "did indeed lie to Congress about approving gain of function research in Wuhan."
"It is a fact that the scientists that Fauci convinced to change their minds on the lab leak theory were shortly thereafter given million-dollar increases in their NIH," Paul said.
Paul, a frequent sparring partner with Fauci during hearings last Congress, has been a critic of gain of function research, which many say caused the COVID-19 pandemic in a Chinese lab leak.
Redfield said during Wednesday’s hearing he believes gain of function research "probably caused the greatest pandemic our world has seen" when asked by select subcommittee chairman Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, if gain of function research has ever stopped a pandemic.
Redfield also answered in the negative when Wenstrup asked if he believed there are any "tangible benefits" to gain of function research.
The former CDC director also stressed that his scientist colleagues who engage in the research are "people of good faith" who "truly believe" the research will yield benefits.
"I personally don’t, but I do want to stress, I think the men and women that support it are people of good faith because they truly believe it’s going to lead to a potential benefit," Redfield said.
"I disagree with that assessment."
Fox News Digital's Charles Creitz contributed reporting.