FOX News host Tucker Carlson has accused Anthony Fauci of lying to Senate lawmakers about the Wuhan lab's coronavirus research.
It comes as the health expert received a thank-you note from the head of a non-profit organization that used a federal government grant to fund research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology – the lab suspected in the lab-leak theory.
More than 3,000 pages of Fauci's emails were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and published on Tuesday by Buzzfeed.
Last month, Fauci clashed with Kentucky lawmaker Rand Paul during a Senate committee hearing about US funding to the Wuhan lab.
Paul insisted that the money was being used for the gain of function research, which Fauci said was "entirely and completely incorrect."
The EcoHealth Alliance used its grant from the National Institutes of Health to study coronaviruses in Chinese bats and sent the Wuhan lab nearly $600,000 over the course of five years, beginning in 2014.
Tucker said: “In retrospect that looks a lot like perjury.
“We do know that starting early last year, a lot of people in the NIH were worried that Covid had not occurred naturally – that it had been manipulated in a lab in China – and yet they seem determined to hide that fact from the public."
Tucker also accused Fauci of dishonesty after the expert, last year, suggested the virus may have originated from bats.
The Fox News presenter said: "At that point, he could not have known that. That was dishonest."
The contents of the emails have led to calls from Republicans for Fauci to be dismissed.
Sen. Rand Paul tweeted: “Told you”, while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said: “He needs to be FIRED.”
The congresswoman uploaded a photo of herself wearing a "Fire Fauci" face mask.
Fauci admitted that the US sent $600,000 to the lab but defended the funding.
The doc insisted the money was for a collaborative study with "respectable" scientists on how coronaviruses are transmitted to humans.
He denied that any US cash went towards "gain of function" research, a practice that involves taking a virus that can infect humans and making it either more transmissible or pathogenic for humans.
Fauci maintained that funding the research was necessary, citing the SARS outbreak of the early 2000s.
The emails reveal Fauci's conversations with the government and health officials during the early stages of the outbreak.
On January 31, 2020, more than two months before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic, Fauci forwarded a copy of a Science magazine article called Mining Coronavirus Genomes for Clues to the Outbreak's Origins to virus researcher Kristian Anderson and Sir Jeremy Farrar, who runs a global health charity in Britain.
The doc wrote: "This just came out today. You may have seen it. If not, it is of interest to the current discussion."
In his reply, Anderson noted that further analysis was needed to determine if the virus could have been engineered.
Last April, Fauci received an email from Dr. Francis Collins, of the NIH, about the lab leak theory being discussed on Fox News' "Hannity" show.
Collins sent an email with the subject, "conspiracy gains momentum," but its contents were blacked out.
Fauci responded to that email but his response was blacked out.
President Biden announced a review of the lab-leak theory after allegedly shutting down a previous probe into its origins.
Intelligence experts will report back to the president within 90 days.
They will be investigating whether the virus jumped from an animal host to humans or whether it was accidentally released from a lab in the Chinese city.
The lab-leak theory has become increasingly mainstream – months after it was previously condemned as a fringe conspiracy.
It was often pushed by former President Donald Trump who did not think the pandemic erupted from human contact with an infected animal.
The Biden administration has spent months minimalizing the possibility that the virus originated in a lab but is now calling on China to be transparent about the outbreak.
It called on China to cooperate with an international probe into the pandemic's origins.
Biden has directed the US national laboratories to also assist with the investigation.
A Wall Street Journal report alleged that three staffers at the lab had to be hospitalized in November 2019 – weeks before China disclosed the outbreak to the world.
It led to renewed calls for a broader probe into whether Covid-19 could have escaped from a lab in Wuhan, where the pandemic is widely believed to have begun.
Dr. Fauci, himself, previously said that he was not “convinced” that the virus is naturally occurring.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology is known to have been experimenting with bat coronaviruses and creating infectious hybrid strains for tests.
It is located just a stone's throw from where the virus first emerged in December 2019.
China and the lab have always denied allegations of a possible leak.
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