Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday asked the National Institutes of Health to review all documents and communications from the outgoing White House chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci to keep.

in the a letter To the acting NIH director Dr. Lawrence Tabak, Paul requested that all of Fauci’s documents be retained for future investigations by congressional oversight, with particular emphasis on releases related to Fauci’s agency-funded coronavirus research.

The letter was sent after Fauci announced Monday that he would step down from his role as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in December.

“I formally request that you ensure that all documents and communications in Dr. Fauci’s belongings related to his tenure at the National Institutes of Health,” Paul wrote. “This information is critical to ensuring that Congress has access to information necessary for proper oversight of events occurring during Dr. Fauci took place at the agency.”

Paul requested that all records, emails, electronic documents and data created during his more than three decades at the agency “created or shared with Dr. Fauci” are preserved. Kentucky lawmakers emphasized that the NIH should retain documents related to federal funding for coronavirus research, including grants from the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that provides NIH funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China to study bat coronaviruses forgiven.

“The American people deserve transparency and accountability from the NIH regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of Dr. Fauci’s future employment plans,” Paul wrote.

EcoHealth’s relationship with the Wuhan lab has been the subject of intense scrutiny by Paul and others, who have claimed that gain-of-function research experiments conducted in China could be linked to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The senator has repeatedly confronted Fauci about the gain-of-function research in highly publicized congressional hearings — during which Fauci has denied any wrongdoing and accused Paul of “distorting” facts to attack scientists.

Fauci, who announced Monday he is leaving the government but is not retiring, has been the primary White House spokesman on the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years.

Republican lawmakers have suggested the timing for Fauci’s departure is opportune, as the GOP is widely expected to at least recapture the House of Representatives in the November midterm elections and hold hearings to oversee Fauci’s tenure if they do regain power.

Paul’s request that the NIH keep Fauci’s records is just the latest indication that regardless of the outcome of the election, GOP lawmakers will seek to hold Fauci accountable for his handling of the pandemic. Rand Paul is asking the NIH to release all documents from Dr. Anthony Fauci on hold for upcoming GOP oversight

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