Fauci on Blackburn video: 'No idea what she is talking about'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCNN: Every county in Florida, Arkansas rated 'high transmission' for community spread Rising case count reignites debate over COVID-19 restrictions Trump surgeon general: 'Pandemic is spiraling out of control' MORE on Wednesday said he had "no clue" what Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnBiden's misinformation crackdown spotlights partisan divide on content reform White House looks to cool battle with Facebook Republicans raise concerns about Olympians using digital yuan during Beijing Games MORE (R-Tenn.) was referencing in a recent video she posted to her official Twitter account.

In the 50-second video, which Blackburn captioned "the facts on Fauci that big tech doesn’t want you to know," the GOP senator accuses the nation's top infectious diseases doctor of nefariously coordinating a "narrative" about the origins of the coronavirus with Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergBudowsky: How Biden can defeat COVID-19 for good White House looks to cool battle with Facebook Facebook to dole out billion to creators into 2022 MORE.

"I don't have a clue what she just said. I have no idea what she's talking about," Fauci said during an interview with Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddNFL Network's Rich Eisen says he has COVID-19 despite being vaccinated Newsmax host suggests vaccines 'against nature' Senate Armed Services chair: 'I think Kabul will hold' MORE on MSNBC. "I'm sorry, I don't want to be pejorative against a United States senator, but I have no idea what she's talking about."

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Blackburn's video is part of a pattern of attacks on Fauci from Republicans, seeking to discredit him and bolster the image of former President TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE

The attacks, which began when Trump was in office, have intensified in recent weeks following renewed attention to the origins of the coronavirus and the release of thousands of pages of Fauci's emails obtained by news outlets through public records requests.

Fauci has long faced scrutiny from Republicans over his evolved guidance on masking and other issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

But as new questions have emerged about the true origins of the coronavirus, some Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators have seized on connections between Fauci and a lab in Wuhan, China, drawing unsubstantiated conclusions that Fauci was responsible for funding the creation of the coronavirus that caused the global pandemic. 

"It was Dr. FauciAnthony FauciCNN: Every county in Florida, Arkansas rated 'high transmission' for community spread Rising case count reignites debate over COVID-19 restrictions Trump surgeon general: 'Pandemic is spiraling out of control' MORE and his agency that wrote that check, sent that money to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to do this coronavirus research," Blackburn said. 

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Blackburn was likely talking about the grant given by the National Institutes of Health that went to the Wuhan Institute, which is the premier lab for studying coronaviruses, and the possibility that scientists at the lab were conducting "gain of function" research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a $3.4 million grant to the nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance from 2014 to 2019. The Wuhan Institute of Virology was awarded a $600,000 subgrant under that contract, for the purpose of researching bat coronaviruses over five years.

There is no evidence the virus was created in a lab. But scientists have said they cannot rule out the possibility that the virus may have leaked out of the Wuhan lab, which is the world's top coronavirus research institute. 

In numerous interviews and public appearances, Fauci has said the money to the Wuhan lab was not meant for gain-of-function research into human-made superviruses. 

"If you go through each and every one of the points — which are so ridiculous, just painfully ridiculous — but nonetheless if you go through each and every one of them, you can explain and debunk it immediately," Fauci said.