Close to a dozen House Republicans led by Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general to launch a criminal probe into National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Anthony Fauci. The referral stems from the chief presidential medical adviser’s calls for Fox News anchor Jesse Watters to be fired after the network host encouraged students at a Conservative conference to confront Fauci over his routine lies. [tweet_embed] January 16, 2022[/tweet_embed] “Now you’re going for the kill shot. The kill shot with an ambush is deadly because he doesn’t see it coming,” Watters stated at a Turning Point USA event. “This is when you say, ‘Dr. Fauci, you funded risky research at a sloppy Chinese lab. The same lab that strung this pandemic on the world. You know why people don’t trust you, don’t you?’ Boom, he is dead. He is dead.” While Watters made his comment in the context of a First Amendment exercise to hold government leaders accountable, Fauci went on CNN to demand the Fox host be disciplined over the “horrible comments.” “That’s awful that he said that,” Fauci griped. “And he’s going to go very likely unaccountable. I mean, whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything for him. I mean, that’s crazy. The guy should be fired on the spot!” In their letter to the HHS inspector general sent Thursday afternoon, House Republicans pointed out it’s a criminal offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison for a federal official to influence private-sector employment decisions based on partisan affiliation. [tweet_embed] January 16, 2022[/tweet_embed] “Dr. Fauci did so while acting in his official government capacity as NIAID Director and Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States,” they wrote. “Dr. Fauci’s attempt to influence Mr. Watters’ private sector employer to terminate him on the basis of partisan political affiliation may constitute a violation of federal law.” Lawmakers asked the HHS inspector general to probe two questions: 1. Dr. Fauci intended to influence Mr. Watters’ private employer to terminate him on the basis of partisan political affiliation, … 2. Whether Dr. Fauci engaged in an ‘official act’ under [federal statute] when he publicly called for the firing of Mr. Watters while giving an interview in his official capacity. [tweet_embed] January 16, 2022[/tweet_embed] Fox News defended its new anchor of the network’s 7 p.m. prime time slot following the blowback. “Based on watching the full clip and reading the entire transcript, it’s more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor for asking hard-hitting questions to Dr. Fauci about gain-of-function research and his words have been twisted completely out of context,” Fox asserted in a statement.