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CNN’s Brianna Keilar says Rand Paul ‘trolls’ Dr. Fauci, ‘blows disinformation’ over Covid hearing

CNN host Brianna Keilar accused Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) of spreading “disinformation” during a COVID-19 hearing on Tuesday, in which he engaged in his trademark grilling of chief immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, though a series of reports appear to corroborate Paul’s suspicion that Fauci may have had a role in funding research in China that led to the creation of COVID-19.

During his questioning, Paul asked Fauci if he still supported controversial “gain-of-function research” which manipulates the gene structure of viruses to make them more potent; experts have said they disapprove of the research because it is highly risky.

“Gain of function research, as you know, is juicing up naturally occurring animal viruses to infect humans. To arrive at the truth, the U.S. government should admit that the Wuhan Virology Institute was experimenting to enhance the coronavirus’s ability to infect humans,” Paul said.

“For years, Ralph Baric, a virologist in the U.S., has been collaborating with Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Virology Institute, sharing his discoveries how to create super viruses. This gain-of-function research has been funded by the [National Institutes of Health],” he continued.

“Drs. Baric and Shi worked together to insert bat virus spike protein into the backbone of the deadly SARS virus, and then used this manmade supervirus to infect human airway cells,” Paul added. “Dr. Fauci, do you still support NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?”

In response, Fauci claimed that Paul was “entirely and completely incorrect.”

“The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” Fauci said flatly. “Dr. Baric does not do gain of function research and if it is, it is according to the guidelines and is being conducted in North Carolina, not in China.”

Responding to Paul’s grilling of Fauci, Keilar set upon the Kentucky Republican, claiming he was spreading disinformation.

“He’s at it again. Rand Paul trolls Dr. Fauci ahead of his congressional hearing. Not surprising, since Paul approaches these like WWE matches. But instead of titillating a witting audience, he blows disinformation all over them,” she wrote on Twitter in a post containing a video clip of her lambasting Paul.

In fact, Paul’s question about funding from Fauci’s NIH comes on the heels of a report by Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday in which he cited a well-sourced paper on the subject of where the virus came from written by renowned science writer Nicholas Wade.

In his paper, Wade — who worked at The New York times for three decades and edited the paper’s science section — “makes it clear that, more than any other single American, Tony Fauci is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic,” Carlson said.

“Wade lays out a nearly insurmountable amount of evidence that this virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Central China. We’ve raised this possibility from the early days of the pandemic,” Carlson added.

“But this piece all but proves it. At the time the outbreak began last fall, the Wuhan lab was conducting experiments on how to make bat viruses infectious to human beings. Those experiments were funded by American tax dollars, the funding for those experiments was approved and directed by Tony Fauci in Washington. It’s hard to believe that, but it’s true, and the piece lays it out,” he added.

Carlson’s segment followed an earlier report by fellow Fox News host Steve Hilton in January, in which he connected many of the same dots as Wade, concluding that Fauci had a hand in funding the research that may have led to the creation of COVID-19.

“Despite the controversy surrounding this type of research, it always had one steadfast champion, a leading figure in the world of infectious diseases, Anthony Fauci,” Hilton said before laying out much the same research funding scenario cited by Paul and reported by Carlson.

As for Keilar, her accusations were roundly rebutted on social media.

“So the Internet is not available at your network?” wrote Newsmax TV correspondent Emerald Robinson along with a link to an April 2020 piece in The Scientist claiming the NIH had recently canceled funding for bat coronavirus research.

“Sen. Rand Paul has Anthony Fauci dead to rights on the charge of sending taxpayer money to the Wuhan virus lab. From 2014 to July 13, 2020 (!), NIAID sent $3.75 million to EcoHealth Alliance to study “bat coronavirus emergence.” EHA then sent $600k of that to the Wuhan lab,” The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis added.

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Jon Dougherty
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