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Congressional Republicans are leading “comprehensive” investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of an “accidental” leak from a Wuhan lab.

The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash., wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week requesting documents to “assist” in their investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

“As leaders on the Congressional Committee with jurisdiction over public health, we strongly support a comprehensive investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of an accidental laboratory leak,” McMorris, joined by Reps. Brett Guthrie and H. Morgan Griffith wrote.

The Republicans requested Blinken release “unclassified documents and declassify other documents for public release, as appropriate, related to the assertion in the Department’s January 15, 2021 Fact Sheet that the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in Wuhan, China, collaborated with the Chinese military in conducting classified research, including laboratory animal experiments.”

The fact sheet, released during the Trump administration, claimed that the WIV collaborated on “secret projects” with China’s military, and claims that “despite the WIV presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the WIV has collaborated on publications and secret projects within China’s military” since “at least 2017.”

The Republicans noted that WIV “has been a major focus” for the U.S. government and the World Health Organization in their examination of the origins of COVID-19.

“The release of these documents from the Department could help to refute contradictory statements that have been made regarding the possibility of a laboratory leak from the WIV,” they wrote.

The Republicans were referring to comments made by Director of the Center of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the WIV, Dr. Shi Zhengli, who claimed during a seminar at Rutgers University in March, that “all our research work is open, is transparent.”

Zhengli, at the time, called assertions that the Wuhan lab was involved in the leak of COVID-19 is “not correct.”

Blinken, last month, said the coronavirus “got out of hand faster” because of China, saying Beijing “didn’t do what it needed to do” in the early stages of the pandemic.

“I think China knows that in the early stages of COVID, it didn’t do what it needed to do, which was to, in real time, give access to international experts, in real time to share information, in real time to provide real transparency,” Blinken said.

Meanwhile, in a separate probe, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., penned a letter to Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), demanding further information on the “cause” of the pandemic.

“Understanding the cause of this pandemic – and ensuring that something like it never happens again – is the most important question facing the world today,” Gallagher wrote in a letter Wednesday to Fauci. “Given the stakes, we cannot afford to settle for a limited, blinkered, or politicized understanding of the origin of this terrible disease.” 

And on the other side of the Capitol, Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Mike Braun introduced a bill that would force the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to COVID-19 origins.

“For over a year, anyone asking questions about the Wuhan Institute of Virology has been branded as a conspiracy theorist,” Hawley said in a statement last month. “The world needs to know if this pandemic was the product of negligence at the Wuhan lab but the CCP has done everything it can to block a credible investigation.”

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He added that the “Biden administration must declassify what it knows about the Wuhan lab and Beijing’s attempts to cover up the origin of the pandemic.”

Braun similarly said that identifying the origins of COVID-19 “is vital for preventing future pandemics, and as investigations and research into the origins of the virus continue, the Biden administration should declassify intelligence related to any potential links between biological research laboratories in Wuhan, China and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The calls for more information come after the White House, last month, said it believes that China has “not been transparent” in releasing its findings on the origins of COVID-19, as part of a report it wrote in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

The report dismissed claims that COVID-19 had escaped from a lab in Wuhan and instead called the theory of zoonotic transmission, or transfer of infection from animals to humans, “likely to very likely.”

The White House said the WHO’s China report lacks crucial information and provides just a “partial, incomplete picture” of the virus’ origin.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, last month, called on China and the WHO to allow international experts “unfettered access” to data and to allow them to ask questions of people on the ground at the time of the outbreak. Psaki said that U.S. medical experts are still reviewing the report, but the White House believes it “doesn’t meet the moment.”

The report calls the prospect that the virus transmitted from an animal reservoir to an animal host, followed by subsequent spread within that intermediate host that then transmits it to humans, “likely to very likely.” It calls the idea that the virus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology “extremely unlikely.”

The report called for further investigation in every area except the lab leak hypothesis.

Even WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the research team’s assessment on whether coronavirus entered the human population as a result of a laboratory incident was not “extensive enough.”

And President Biden said last month he had not spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the origins of COVID-19.

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Anthony Fauci

FAUCI STILL LYING: ‘DISTORTION TO SAY THAT WE DELIBERATELY SUPPRESSED’ COVID LAB LEAK THEORY

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National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning” that it was “a bit of a distortion to say that we deliberately suppressed” the so-called lab leak theory that coronavirus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.

Co-host Tony Dokoupil said, “We also asked Dr. Fauci about competing theories on the origin of the coronavirus, including the idea that it started not in nature but in a lab in Wuhan, China.”

Fauci said, “Well, first of all, Tony, most of the scientists who know about virus phylogeny and biology will stay from a biological standpoint. It’s still more likely this is a natural occurrence. We have always kept an open mind. End of January, beginning of February, when people looked at the virus and said, this could be something that came from a lab, I brought together a group of scientists. I let people know about it. People forget that, but if you go back then, even though you lean towards feeling this is more likely a natural occurrence, we’ve always felt you’ve got to keep an open mind, all of us. We didn’t get up and started announcing it, but we’ve always said keep an open mind and continue to look.”

He continued, “So I think it’s a bit of a distortion to say that we deliberately suppressed that. When you’re a scientist until you definitively prove something, the nature of science, Tony, is to always keep an open mind, and that’s what we did. You can feel from a virological standpoint looking at things that this is going to be more likely a natural occurrence.”

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Fauci added, “In addition to there being a lab in Wuhan, there are these wet markets where you have the human-animal interface that is a perfect set-up for the animal-to-human jump. You keep open the possibilities, and you can have a strong opinion of one without closing your mind. That’s what I and many of the scientists have done.”

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coronavirus

Jon Stewart: COVID Pandemic ‘More Than Likely Caused by Science’ – ‘This Is Not a Conspiracy’ 

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During an interview aired on Monday’s broadcast of CBS’ “Late Show,” comedian Jon Stewart said that the coronavirus pandemic was “more than likely caused by science.” And seemingly mocked claims that the virus originated naturally.
Stewart said, “I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to science. Science has, in many ways, helped ease the suffering of this pandemic, which was more than likely caused by science.”

He later added, “Oh my God, there’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China. What do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask, the Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab. That’s just a little too weird, don’t you think? And then they ask those scientists, they’re like…’So, wait a minute, you work at the Wuhan respiratory coronavirus lab, how did this happen?’ And they’re like, ‘Uhh, a pangolin kissed a turtle?’”
Stewart further stated, “Oh my God, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pennsylvania. What do you think happened? Oh, I don’t know maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean. Or it’s the [bleep] chocolate factory. Maybe that’s it.”
Colbert then said that White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins have said the lab leak theory should be investigated.

Stewart responded, “Stop with the logic and people and things. The name of the disease is on the building.”
Colbert then suggested that maybe the reason the lab is located in Wuhan is because there are a lot of novel coronaviruses in Wuhan due to the bat population.
Stewart then stated, “It’s a local specialty. And it’s the only place to find bats. You won’t find bats anywhere else. Oh, wait, Austin, Texas has thousands of them that fly out of a cave every night, every night at dusk. Is there a coronavirus — an Austin coronavirus? No, there doesn’t seem to be an Austin coronavirus. The only coronavirus we have is in Wuhan, where they have a lab called, what’s the lab called again, Stephen?”
Colbert later asked, “And how long have you worked for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)?”
Stewart responded, “Let me tell you something about Ron Johnson — this is not a conspiracy.”

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VIDEO: Sen. John Kennedy Asks CDC Director Point Blank What Mask Rules Are

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During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to clearly state what the rules of mask-wearing are in the United States.

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