GOP Sens Seek Info on Biden Halting State Dept COVID Probe

GOP Sens Seek Info on Biden Halting State Dept COVID Probe a coronavirus mockup in an extreme closeup (Dreamstime)

By Eric Mack | Thursday, 27 May 2021 07:18 PM

President Joe Biden's halting of a State Department investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, China, has two Senate Republicans requesting information on the move.

"We write to request information regarding recent reports that 'President Joe Biden's team shut down' an investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2, which included examining the theory that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China," Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Biden.

Johnson and Scott's letter cited reports that the now-terminated State Department investigation "was the only inquiry looking seriously into the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China."

The letter also noted Biden terminated the briefing after State Department investigators briefed the president in February and March.

The senators also noted a number of skeptics of the World Health Organization investigation under China's eyes, which considered a release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology "extremely unlikely."

The Biden administration's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned, the senators quoted in the letter:

"We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them."

"We've got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it."

A long-time supporter of the WHO, Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed concern about the transparency of China with its probe access, the senators noted.

"If, in fact, obviously, there was a lot of restrictions on the ability of the people who went there to really take a look, then I'm going to have some considerable concerns about that," Fauci said.

Earlier this month, the letter added, 18 scientists noted the WHO's conflicting logic in its report.

"Although there were no findings in clear support of either a natural spillover or a lab accident, the [WHO] team assessed a zoonotic spillover from an intermediate host as 'likely to very likely,' and a laboratory incident as 'extremely unlikely,'" the scientists wrote. "Furthermore, the two theories were not given balanced consideration."

The letter requests information from the administration by June 10 "in order to better understand the State Department's decision to terminate an investigation into [the] virus' origins."

"While on May 26, 2021, President Biden ordered an intelligence report on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, it remains unclear why the State Department reportedly shut down a U.S.-led effort to investigate the virus' origins," the letter read. "Understanding the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is foundational to the U.S. government's efforts to prevent future pandemics and finally bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Original Article