White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he expects Republican lawmakers to attack him during Congressional hearings come 2023 should the party take control of the House and Senate.
During an interview with The Washington Post, Fauci said he predicts to be the subject of a lot of public grillings but that nothing will come out of it.
"It's Benghazi hearings all over again," he said of Republicans vowing to issue subpoenas in an attempt to push the doctor into providing information about his alleged funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director continued, "They’ll try to beat me up in public, and there'll be nothing there. But it will distract me from doing my job, the way it’s doing right now."
Fauci's mention of the Benghazi hearings was in reference to a two-year investigation by the GOP-controlled House into the 2012 attacks in Libya that resulted in four Americans dying. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the focus of the Benghazi hearings.
Members of a radical Islamic militant group carried out a coordinated attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. The attack killed four Americans – U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Shortly after the attack, Clinton and then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice falsely attributed militants storming the compound to a poorly produced YouTube video, claiming it incited the militants.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi did not find any evidence that Clinton was responsible when it issued its final report on the investigation in 2016. Lawmakers did, however, rebuke her State Department, along with the Defense Department and the CIA for failures in anticipating the security needs of the Benghazi diplomatic mission.
Now, Republicans are preparing to target Fauci for his alleged role in funding gain-of-function research in China, with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul saying in December that he plans to issue subpoenas in order to determine the origin of the coronavirus.
"If we take over the Senate next year, I’ll be chairman of the health committee, and I pledge to use the subpoena power to get every last record about the origin of the virus, about Fauci," Paul said at the time.
And on Monday, Paul introduced legislation that would eliminate Fauci's role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
"We've learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed 'dictator-in-chief.' No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans," Paul said in a statement. "To ensure that ineffective, unscientific lockdowns and mandates are never foisted on the American people ever again, I've introduced this amendment to eliminate Dr. Anthony Fauci's position as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and divide his power into three separate new institutes."
Fauci and Paul have had heated exchanges during several Senate hearings about allegations that Fauci's NIAID funded gain-of-function research on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the global pandemic. The doctor has repeatedly denied these accusations.
But in September, released records showed that EcoHealth Alliance, the NIAID grantee that gave funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to study bat-based coronaviruses, developed a chimeric coronavirus in Wuhan labs that caused mice with humanized cells to become sicker than those infected with the natural strain of the virus.