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The two traded barbs during a tense exchange, triggering a shouting match in which Fauci accused Paul of lying in order to further his agenda. In response to similar questioning during a hearing in May, Fauci said the NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” It’s not unusual for conservative Republicans and allies of former President Trump to clash with Fauci during hearings; Paul has done so on numerous occasions, as has Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “I totally resent the lie you are now propagating, senator,” Fauci said, adding that it is molecularly impossible that research funded by NIH was responsible for SARS-CoV-2. Paul interjected again, talking over Fauci: “You are obviously obfuscating the truth,” to which Fauci replied, “I’m not obfuscating the truth — you are.” “You are implying that what we did was responsible for the deaths of individuals. I totally resent that,” Fauci said. “And if anybody is lying here senator, it is you.”

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