GOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) says he wants to “prosecute” Anthony FauciAnthony Fauci'Highest priority' is to vaccinate the unvaccinated, Fauci says Sunday shows - Boosters in the spotlight Fauci: Data for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson booster shots 'a few weeks' out MORE should the GOP regain control of the House in 2022.

Cawthorn's remark underscores how Fauci has become central to GOP attacks on the Biden administration and the government's handling of the coronavirus, even as the delta variant sweeps through unvaccinated communities and it becomes clearer and clearer that vaccinations are a key to stomping out the disease.

Cawthorn made the remarks during an interview on the conservative news site Just the News on Real America’s Voice. 

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He also accused Fauci of being a “pawn of the Chinese Communist Party,” and suggested that he could be prosecuted for lying to Congress about gain-of-function research.

“I'll tell you, when we take the majority back in 2022, I'll make sure consequences are doled out,” Cawthorn said.

“We want to prosecute this guy to the full ability of the law. And I’ll tell you, to lie to the American people just to get your name in the news, just to get your face on the cover of books, just to get fame and fortune. I’ll tell you, Dr. Anthony Fauci does not deserve either fame or fortune,” he continued.

Fauci has been a government worker for decades and has won applause from members of both parties over the years for his work on a host of infectious diseases, including AIDS.

But his work has been politicized by figures on the right, and Cawthorn's arguments echoed those of Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment MORE (R-Ky.), who told Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick Hannity90 percent of full-time Fox Corp. employees say they're fully vaccinated: executive The Memo: California recall exposes the limit of Trump's GOP Republicans divided on Trump's strength as possible 2024 candidate MORE that he would request a criminal referral from the Department of Justice to investigate Fauci for lying to Congress.

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Paul has accused the National Institutes of Health of funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has come under scrutiny as it is thought to be a possible source of the coronavirus. Fauci has repeatedly denied these claims.

Paul and Fauci got in a heated exchange over the claim during a hearing on Tuesday, one that culminated in Fauci declaring that Paul “didn’t know” what he was talking about.

“Sen. Paul, you do not know what you are talking about, and I want to say that officially,” Fauci said.