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‘The Five’ reacts to Fauci’s ‘Clintonian’ fireworks with Sen. Paul: ‘Depends on the definition of ‘is”

The panel on “The Five” compared Dr. Anthony Fauci’s fiery back-and-forth with Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., during a hearing Tuesday to the famously semantic defense made by President Clinton during his impeachment deposition on whether he was having sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky.

Paul, who is also a medical doctor, called out Fauci for his National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Disease’s past funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the coronavirus may have originated He began his questioning by warning the 80-year-old epidemiologist that lying to Congress can result in a five-year federal prison sentence.

He asked Fauci if he wished to retract his May 11 testimony that the National Institutes of Health never funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab, despite documentation that experiments were done on animal viruses to increase their transmissibility to humans. Fauci responded that the Kentuckian “do[es] not know what [he’s] talking about” and dismissed allegations he acted in an untoward manner in that regard.

Throughout the exchange, Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.,  interjected to implore Paul to let Fauci respond in full.

On “The Five,” host Jesse Watters remarked on the obvious mutual “hatred” and compared Fauci’s behavior to that of Clinton’s during the Whitewater scandal-turned-Lewinsky investigation:

“So this grant goes to the Wuhan lab and in the grant, it spells out what the gain-of-function is supposed to do,” he said. “So the bad lady (Chinese Dr. Shi Zhengli) takes the grant. She does the gain of function and then she thanks the grantee, Fauci, for providing her the money. So when Paul asks him it, he goes ‘gain of function isn’t really what gain of function is.'”

“This is like playing with matches [and] lighting your neighbor’s match on fire and then you say, ‘No, it’s not a fire. I talked to my people out the insurance company. They said it does not meet the definition of a fire.’ — I mean, Bill Clinton must just be like, ‘You’ve got to give it to the guy, he’s good.'”

Host Martha MacCallum further added, “It depends on the definition of ‘is’.”

“That’s what we’re thinking about here – it’s Clintonian,” Watters replied.

MacCallum added that the questions Paul asked truly do need to be answered by the federal bureaucracy, especially given the drumbeat of “listen to the science.”

“The truth of the matter is when you look at the investigation that the State Department was doing and Dr. Steven Quay, who looked at the breakdown of the virus and he said, ‘you know what, this virus is actually the kind that they make in labs’… So yes, I think it’s OK to confront Dr. Fauci on this,” she continued.

“I think he’s obviously upset and that tells me something as well. And I think the American people need answers to this: It’s not the definition of ‘gain-of-function’ but we made [the virus] more virile.”

During Clinton’s August 17, 1998, deposition, he was asked about the veracity of testimony from his attorney, Robert Bennett, to Arkansas federal Judge Susan Webber Wright that “there is absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, [between Lewinsky and] President Clinton”

Clinton responded that “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” 

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is… If ‘is’ means ‘is and never has been’, that is … one thing. If it means ‘there is none’ (currently), that was a completely true statement,” Clinton told the deposing prosecutor, Solomon Wisenberg.

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