Rand Paul, GOP Senators Put Fauci Ally on Hot Seat During COVID Origins Hearing

Rand Paul
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

WASHINGTON, DC—Ranking Member Rand Paul (R-KY) and other Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee put Anthony Fauci’s ally, Dr. Robert Garry, on the hot seat during Tuesday’s coronavirus origins hearing.

Garry, who Paul dubbed a member of Fauci’s “inner circle,” was one of four witnesses at the hearing. He and Dr. Gregory Koblentz, another witness, said they did not believe a lab leak was the origin of the virus. The other two witnesses, Dr. Steven Quay and Dr. Richard Ebright, believe the virus was derived from a lab and not naturally.

Paul, who contends there is a “preponderance of evidence indicating” the virus may have come from a lab, highlighted in his opening statement that Garry was one of several of Fauci’s allies who helped author an article in March 2020 in Nature Magazine where they asserted, “We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.”

However, private communications obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request among some of the paper’s authors, including Garry, from the early days of the pandemic “differ greatly” from what they have said publicly, per Paul:

Bob Garry said, “I really can’t think of a plausible natural scenario where you get from the bat virus or one very similar to it to COVID-19, where you insert exactly four amino acids, twelve nucleotides, and all have to be added at the exact same time to gain this function. I just can’t figure out how this gets accomplished in nature.” According to Garry, “It’s not crackpot to suggest this could have happened given the gain of function research we know was happening at Wuhan.”

Garry contended in his opening remarks that “the most plausible origin” of the virus “is spillover from a bat to an intermediate animal and then to a human,” adding he believes the alleged “spillover” occurred naturally and likely at the Wuhan market.

He also noted, “We don’t have the smoking gun evidence that there was an infected animal in the market.”

Paul also emphasized “There is no animal host that’s been found,” despite extensive testing, but suggested a “laboratory animal” could have been the intermediary.

“But what he also doesn’t tell you is the animal host could be a laboratory animal,” Paul said. “It could be passed serially through that, and that’s one way of quickly adapting and pushing natural selection to adapt a virus toward humans. Dr. Alina Chan has written extensively about this – how this virus didn’t show up clunky and poorly transmissible; this virus showed up immediately very transmissible in humans as if it had been pre-adapted in a lab.”

Paul asked Ebright for his views on Garry’s “categorical statement” in the March 2020 Nature Magazine article and what he would tell a young researcher about employing “categorical statements” in scientific papers when following the scientific method.

Ebright classified Garry’s article as “an opinion piece” and declared, “It was not a research article.”

“In March of 2020, there was no basis to state that as a conclusion, as opposed to simply being a hypothesis,” Elbright said, adding the “private communications” of Garry and three other authors on the paper, Dr. Kristian Anderson, Dr. Andrew Rambaut, and Dr. Edward C. Holmes “show clearly that they knew the conclusion that they stated in that article was invalid.”

“I would tell a younger scientist that you do not state a conclusion without evidence, even in an opinion piece in a scientific journal, and you never, under any circumstances in a scientific journal, state conclusions that you know to be unsound,” he added. “That represents scientific misconduct… up to and including fraud.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) accused Garry of peddling “propaganda” during a fiery exchange later in the hearing and said that Fauci and others cited the Nature Magazine article “to use it to mobilize our own government to censor people who asked questions.”

“People lost their jobs because of this. They lost their jobs. They lost their standing. They were kicked off Facebook. They were kicked off Twitter. Do you regret being part of this effort, this propaganda effort?” Hawley asked.

“I was, I was simply just writing a paper about our scientific opinions about where this virus came,” Garry responded, prompting Hawley to accuse him of lying.

Also during the hearing, Sen Ron Johnson (R-WI) outright said, “Fauci was engaged in a cover-up with Dr. Garry,” while holding a pile of Fauci’s remaining redacted emails.

“In terms of the cover-up, my guess is the smoking gun exists somewhere under these heavy redactions,” Johnson said before calling on committee Chair Gary Peters (D-MI) to issue a subpoena for the final pages of Fauci’s emails.


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