During a hearing this session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) got into it with the witness… again.
The proceedings featured Samantha Power, the current leader of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Paul started interrupting within some 30 seconds. The Senator was complaining about U.S. involvement in funding and more broadly supporting scientific research around the world, which some have sometimes alleged to have an at least potential connection to the emergence of COVID-19. In short, it seems Republicans sometimes really like the lab leak theory about that virus’s origins, and Paul accused Power of effectively blockading Senatorial efforts to obtain the relevant government information.
“So again, to set the record straight, first of all, the PREDICT program ended in 2019,” Power told Paul. Paul interrupted again, this time alleging that the disputed research program effectively continued, which Power said was “certainly not” the case on a reasonably basic level. “We have provided hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents related to the PREDICT program for the very reason that you say,” the official continued. “We have been responsive to the committees of jurisdiction… We’ve provided hundreds of pages in response to the chair and ranking [member].” She appeared to indicate there had been at least some groundwork laid for sharing docs with that very panel, but she said in more specific terms that docs had been provided elsewhere in the Senate.
Paul was interrupting throughout that response, which Power mostly powered through. “We have a whole team of people who do nothing other than look back at PREDICT,” Power said. “It is factually accurate!” “I can’t tell you what happens at the committee,” Power added, suggesting Paul had potentially been somehow kept out of the loop on his committees.
Check out the hearing below: