Video: Rand Paul Accuses USAID Administrator Of Stonewalling COVID Origins Investigation
The Senator grilled Samantha Power during hearing Wednesday
Senator Rand Paul grilled Samantha Power, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), during a Senate Foreign Relations Hearing Wednesday, accusing Power of working to withhold information requested by Republicans on the origins of COVID-19.
Paul immediately asked Power if USID had funded coronavirus research in Wuhan, China, prompting her to automatically deny any gain of function research took place.
“That is not the question,” Paul shot back, before noting that huge grants totalling 200 million dollars, under the PREDICT program, were given to coronavirus researchers in China, some of which were stationed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Paul continued, “In September of last year, I wrote Ms. Power or USAID a request asking for records from the PREDICT program. These are not classified. These are simply records of scientific research. And we want to read the grants to find out what they were doing and whether the research was dangerous or not. The response I got from your agency was USAID will not be providing any documents at this time.”
“They’re just unwilling to give documents on scientific grant proposals. We’re paying for it. They’re asking for $745 million more in money, and we get no response,” Paul further explained.
“20 million people died around the world. You’re supposed to be an agency that cares about the death of people around the world. We, you know, talk about starvation and famine and 20 million people died from a virus. And you won’t give us the basic information about what grants you’re funding around the world and who you’re funding,” the Senator continued.
“The American people think this, that because you won’t respond because you respond with a non-response, that you have something to hide. I don’t know if you have anything to hide or not. I want to see every grant proposal that had to do with coronaviruses that went to China from the U.S. government, from all facets of the U.S. government and every bit of the Biden administration is stonewalling us and will not give us the information…You are not being honest,” Paul asserted.
In a press release, Paul further noted “this isn’t just a USAID problem of concealing information, this is a Biden administration-wide problem in which there is a concerted effort to withhold critical information from Congress on the origins of COVID-19.”
Paul notes that Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of the Department of Human Health Services Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Defense Lloyd Austin, Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health Lawrence Tabak, and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development Samantha Power have all failed to reply to requests for information from the Senators.
Last month Paul, who has vowed to find the paper trail for the origins of the COVID lab leak, grilled Blinken and noted that documents related to funding of coronavirus research have not been provided to him despite repeated requests.
“My question is, what’s the State Department hiding?” Paul asked, adding “Why won’t you give these records to the American people?”
“We want to read the research grant proposals. We want to read what the people in Wuhan sent back to the State Department saying they did. Which viruses did they create?” Paul further urged.
“And yet you won’t help us investigate this. You refuse and it makes — it is reminiscent of the countries we criticize for lack of transparency. And yet you sit there and say you’re still going to continue to refuse,” Paul told Blinken.
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