Covid Lab-Leak Theory Was Pushed By Trump Administration Officials
According to Politico, "senior" Trump administration officials were behind the hypothesis, despite a lack of intelligence supporting it. The Washington Post covers how the government then investigated the theory, and still has no "smoking gun."
Top Trump Officials Pushed The Covid-19 Lab-Leak Theory. Investigators Had Doubts
Senior Trump administration officials decided in the spring of 2020 to strongly imply that Covid-19 came from a Chinese lab, even though intelligence officials investigating the pandemic’s origins did not have conclusive evidence supporting that hypothesis. The messaging campaign began as a concerted effort to push back against China, which was attempting to blame the United States for the spread of the virus. In documents and cables newly obtained by POLITICO, officials shared talking points emphasizing that even Beijing’s own communications acknowledged the outbreak began in China’s Wuhan Province. (Banco and Lippman, 6/15)
The Washington Post:
The Government's Hunt For A Pandemic 'Lab Leak' Went Down Many Paths And Came Up With No Smoking Gun
Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, ducked out of his granddaughter’s swim meet into a dark recess of a Michigan high school, eager to hear from a team of scientists whether they thought a new coronavirus making a terrifying sweep across the globe could have been deliberately engineered. It was Feb. 1, 2020, and nearly a dozen top international experts on viral genome evolution had convened for a teleconference. They had been scrutinizing the virus’s genetic sequence, which had been uploaded to the Internet three weeks earlier. A few were alarmed by some of the virus’s attributes, particularly how it clawed its way into human cells. (Abutaleb and Harris, 6/15)
In related news —
Republicans Push To Sanction Chinese Officials Over Wuhan Lab Probe
Two House Republicans — including Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) — are introducing a bill Tuesday to sanction top Chinese health officials until they allow an investigation into whether the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab, according to a copy of the bill text obtained by Axios. The lab-leak theory has regained prominence in both the scientific and political worlds, after the Wall Street Journal reported that three scientists who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology experienced COVID-19 symptoms in November 2019. (Treene and Owens, 6/15)
Des Moines Register:
Joni Ernst Backs Bill To Enforce Disclosure From Groups Tied To Wuhan Lab
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst on Tuesday touted legislation that would block federal funding to organizations that refuse to disclose details about their programs — a move that targets companies associated with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. "There's no reason Iowa taxpayers should continue to foot the bill for organizations that fail to follow federal laws, particularly one that could hold answers to the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic," Ernst said on a call with Iowa reporters. (Pfannenstiel, 6/15)
Robert Redfield: Some Biolab Researchers Show 'Arrogance' That 'Nothing Can Go Wrong'
In an exclusive interview with Fox News' Dr. Marc Siegel, former CDC Director Robert R. Redfield Jr. warned scientists against expressing "arrogance" in their work that could lead to dangerous pitfalls due to their haste. During a larger discussion on the dangers of gain-of-function research, and the potential for lab-leak scenarios as posited by many Americans following the coronavirus pandemic, Redfield warned against too much self-confidence in the scientific community. Redfield said that some scientists and researchers tend to show "arrogance" toward the infallibility of their work, believing that nothing can or will go wrong. (Creitz, 6/15)