Former President Donald Trump is now saying without question that the coronavirus originated from a Chinese lab, following a report on intelligence that thee Chinese scientists were hospitalized in November 2019.
Trump made the comment in an interview with conservative Fox Nation’s Dan Bongino Monday as the ‘lab leak’ theory was given new life by a Wall Street Journal report on U.S. intelligence that three workers at a Chinese lab were hospitalized in November 2019.
Trump has previously raised the possibility that the virus could have human-impacted origin, and repeatedly attacked China while contending with the devastating impacts of the coronavirus during his failed 2020 reelection campaign.
‘I think you can take the word “potential” out that it came from the lab,” Trump told Bongino. Trump said there was ‘very little doubt.’
Former President Donald Trump was captured Monday morning walking into Trump Tower in New York City. He told radio host Dan Bongino that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese lab
His statement came after the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that workers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with an illness that resembled Covid-19 – weeks before the coronavirus would begin ravaging China and the world.
That report, while circumstantial in nature and lacking details on what became of the scientists and detailed information on their illness, has ignited new focus for the potential of the theory.
Trump did not cite any new or specific evidence, although his he and his former team repeatedly pointed to China and have touted the lab theory.
A State Department fact sheet released five days before Trump left office stated that ‘The U.S. government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.’
Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is now entertaining the idea that the virus originated in the Wuhan lab, and is calling for a transparent investigation.
Shi Zhengli works with other researchers in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. A 10-member team of international researchers from the World Health Organization hopes to find clues as to the origin of the coronavirus pandemic in the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus was first detected in late 2019
A Wall Street Journal report on the illness of three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology points to, but does not establish, the possibility of the theory that the coronavirus was released from a lab
Asked if the virus came about naturally, Faucis told PolitiFact: ‘I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.
He also pointed to the more prevalent view that the coronavirus jumped from an animal to humans, as has happened many times in the past.
He added: “Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus,”
Dr. Robert Redfield, who ran the Centers for Disease Control when Trump was in office, in March went as far as to promote the lab leak theory. ‘That’s my own view,” he said. “It’s only opinion. I’m allowed to have opinions now.”
Last week, a group of 18 scientists wrote a letter to Science saying the idea deserved investigation.
‘Yet more investigation is still needed to determine the origin of the pandemic,’ they wrote. ‘Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable. Knowing how COVID-19 emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks.’
The Biden administration, pressed on questions about the Wuhan lab, is calling for China to cooperate in a transparent investigation. ‘We have no means of confirming that or denying that,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday when asked about the report.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki lost her patience with Fox News‘ Peter Doocy at Monday’s press briefing as he pressed her on whether the Biden administration was doing enough to expose the origins of COVID-19, after Dr. Fauci questioned where the virus originated.
‘With 589,920 dead Americans at what point does President Biden say we don’t want to wait for the WHO effort, we don’t know what they’re doing, this needs to be an American-led effort to get to the bottom of what happened?’ Doocy asked.
‘I think you’re misunderstanding how this process actually works,’ she told the him, and said the Biden administration was relying on the World Health Organization to conduct an independent investigation – even though their report already dismissed the lab leak claims.
Doocy was asking about the Journal story, and followed Fauci saying over the weekend that he ‘wasn’t convinced’ the virus had spread naturally outside a lab and called for an investigation.
Psaki responded by saying they are pushing the World Health Organization to complete a probe ‘free from politicization’, despite accusations the Biden administration hasn’t done enough to hold China to account.
The World Health Organization has also been slammed for not doing enough to address the outbreak of the virus and released a 120-page report in March that dismissed the lab leak theory as ‘extremely unlikely’. In the findings they also suggested that the transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki snapped at Fox News’ Peter Doocy, ‘I think you’re misunderstanding how this process actually works’ as he asked her about whether the U.S. is doing enough to investigate COVID-19’s origins
Last week, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a report saying there was ‘significant circumstantial evidence’ that COVID stemmed from a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Trump was pictured arriving at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Monday morning just days after Democrat New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a criminal probe into his business.
Trump stepped out of his car on Fifth Avenue and looked at cameras after a trip from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending the summer away from the heat of Mar-a-Lago.
Since James announced the probe last week, there have been more developments into the investigation and mounting questions over whether his long-time CFO Allen Weisselberg will turn on him.
Weisselberg, long considered to be Trump’s right-hand man with finances, is now facing two criminal investigations into his actions.
James’ office has been investigating alleged civil tax offenses by Trump’s business empire since 2019, but last week ramped up the probe to make it criminal.
Trump tore into the James’ actions, accused her of orchestrating a witch hunt since she came into office and said she should focus on fixing the surge in crime in New York City.
On Thursday, Weisselberg former daughter-in-law Jennifer said he would ‘definitely’ flip on the president and former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res said she believes he is already cooperating with prosecutors.
While Trump was in New York, his potential GOP rivals in the 2024 presidential race including Mike Pence and Nikki Haley headed to the Reagan Library in California for an event to discuss the Republican party’s future.
Trump stepped out of his car on Fifth Avenue and looked at cameras after a trip from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is spending the summer away from the heat of Mar-a-Lago
Crime rates in New York have continued to climb this year, with more murders on the subway in the first three months of 2021 than at any point in 2019, with a 27 percent rise in murders throughout the city since 2020.
In the first week of May, there were nine murders compared to just two in the same week in 2020 – a rise of 350 percent. Felonies have also been increasing steadily with assaults up by 31 percent since 2019.
‘There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation that is in desperate search of a crime. But, make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening here,’ Trump wrote in his statement last week.
‘The Attorney General of New York literally campaigned on prosecuting Donald Trump even before she knew anything about me.
‘She said that if elected, she would use her office to look into “every aspect” of my real estate dealings. She swore that she would “definitely sue” me. She boasted on video that she would be, and I quote, “a real pain in the ass.”
‘She declared, “just wait until I’m in the Attorney General’s office,” and, “I’ve got my eyes on Trump Tower.’ She also promised that, if elected, she would “join with law enforcement and other Attorney Generals across this nation in removing this President from office,” and, “It’s important that everyone understand that the days of Donald Trump are coming to an end.’
‘The Attorney General made each of these statements, not after having had an opportunity to actually look at the facts, but BEFORE she was even elected, BEFORE she had seen even a shred of evidence. This is something that happens in failed third world countries, not the United States.’
Since James announced the probe last week, there have been more developments into the investigation and mounting questions over whether his longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg will turn on him
Jennifer Weisselberg’s ex-husband, Barry, works at the Trump Organization. Allen Weisselberg is the executive who ran the company along with Trump’s children Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. when Trump became president.
Weisselberg’s son Barry also works for the Trump Organization, managing the Wollman and Lasker skating rinks in Central Park and a vintage carousel, which operate on a cash basis. In April, prosecutors served a subpoena to Barry’s ex-wife Jennifer Weisselberg, asking for banking and tax records linked to Barry.
She was photographed transferring boxes of documents, and says she has provided additional digital information as well.
She accuses her ex husband of ‘skimming’ from the company and making false representations on tax returns. There is no indication that he is under investigation, and neither he nor Allen Weisselberg have been charged.
‘To me a liar – a cheater is a liar is a thief and as far as I’m concerned, there’s been nothing legal going on in the past 21 years’ she said.
Res said on Wednesday night that, in her opinion, Weisselberg has flipped and was cooperating with New York prosecutors with two criminal investigations hanging over him.
‘I think Weisselberg is very concerned about his kids,’ she told MSNBC’s Ari Melber. ‘I think that what they’re doing is the kind of thing they did with [retired Lt. Gen. Michael] Flynn. Remember his kid? I don’t think Weisselberg will let his son go to jail. So that’s what he’s doing.’
A retired Air Force One plane is on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, which is hosting a speaker series about the future of the GOP
Among those speaking at the series are former Vice President Mike Pence (left) and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (right)
Barry and Jennifer Weissselberg were embroiled in a bitter divorce and battle and prosecutors seem interested to know if the the couple’s finances might show a pattern of how Trump, or even Allen, handled accounting issues.
Additionally, Allen Weisselberg paid for his grandchildren’s tuition at the elite Columbia Grammar and Prep school, which runs about $49,000 per child annually. He also paid the bills for annual sleepaway camp – $25,000 – and Hebrew school tuition of $2,200.
Barry said there was never an expectation to pay his father back, describing it as financial assistance,’ the legal paperwork from the divorce notes.
Meanwhile, a batch of potential Republican presidential hopefuls are planning to discuss the future of the party at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, located in California‘s Simi Valley.
A speaker series at the library will kick off Thursday, with an appearance by former House Speaker Paul Ryan.
But in addition to Ryan, former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Amb. Nikki Haley, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Tim Scott are slated to speak.
All four have been discussed as potential Republican presidential candidates in 2024.
The series is entitled ‘A Time for Choosing’ – as Republicans discuss the future of the party.
‘Now is the time – a time for reasoned, intellectual discussion, to set a new tone for conservatism, for capturing the hearts of Americans, to shape the future of the Republican Party,’ says a video promoting the series.
Speeches from Haley, Pence and the others expect to provide answers to questions like ‘Why are you a Republican?’ and ‘What should the party stand for?’ organizers said.
The events will be held in-person and outdoors at the Reagan Library’s campus.
Trump has also been teasing a 2024 presidential run, saying he would likely announce after the 2022 midterm races conclude.
The Republican Party lost the House in 2018, the White House in 2020 and the Senate majority in two Georgia run-off races in early 2021.