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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to an attack from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the president, on Sunday by doubling down on his call for the Department of Justice to investigate Fauci for alleged false statements that he made while testifying to Congress.
"Anybody who spins lies and threatens and all that theater that goes on with some of the investigations and the congressional committees and the Rand Pauls and all that other nonsense, that's noise, Margaret, that's noise,"
Fauci said during an interview with CBS News' Margaret Brennan.
Later, when asked about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) saying that Fauci should be prosecuted by the Department of Justice, Fauci responded: "Yeah. I have to laugh at that. I should be prosecuted? What happened on Jan. 6, senator?"
Fauci claimed that Republicans were trying to scapegoat him to protect former President Donald Trump and that Republicans who are attacking him are "lying."
Cruz responded to Fauci's remarks in a series of tweets late on Sunday afternoon, calling Fauci "an unelected technocrat who has distorted science and facts in order to exercise authoritarian control over millions of Americans."
"He lives in a liberal world where his smug 'I REPRESENT science' attitude is praised,"
Cruz then laid out four "facts"
related to his call for the DOJ to investigate Fauci:
"No amount of ad hominem insults parroting Democrat talking points will get Fauci out of this contradiction,"
- On May 11, Fauci testified before a Senate Committee that "the NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
- On October 20, NIH wrote they funded an experiment at the Wuhan lab testing if "spike proteins from naturally occurring bat coronaviruses circulating in China were capable of binding to the human ACE2 receptor in a mouse model." That is gain of function research.
- Fauci's statement and the NIH's October 20 letter cannot both be true. The statements are directly contradictory.
- 18 USC 1001 makes it [a] felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, to lie to Congress.
Cruz concluded. "Fauci either needs to address the substance-in detail, with specific factual corroboration-or DOJ should consider prosecuting him for making false statements to Congress."
Fauci faced additional backlash on Sunday from various officials and commentators:
- Jeryl Bier, journalist: "This is not helpful in any way. This is almost word for word something a cult leader would say. This persuades no one not already in his corner."
- Richard Grenell, former Acting Director of National Intelligence: "Fauci is all about politics."
- House Judiciary GOP Twitter account: "Trust the science. Fire Fauci."
- Geoffrey Miller, psychology professor: "Fauci's narcissism, over-confidence, authoritarianism, & hubris are an embarrassment to real working scientists, who tend to value teamwork & humility."