White House press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t say Thursday whether or not the Biden administration has seen evidence that COVID-19 didn’t leak from a lab within the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan.
“I would caution you against disproving a negative there, which is never the responsible approach in our view when it comes to getting to the bottom of the root causes of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States,” Psaki chided Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy after he put the query to her.
“I will say that our view continues to be that there needs to be an independent, transparent investigation and that needs to happen with the cooperation and data provided from the Chinese government,” Psaki continued. “We don’t have enough information at this point to make an assessment.”
Earlier Thursday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a report claiming that there was “significant circumstantial evidence” that the virus originated from a leak on the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the federal authorities “may have funded or collaborated” the analysis that led to it.
The report notes that China has a “history of research labs leaks resulting in infections” and the Wuhan lab had been conducting “dangerous research” on coronaviruses with out following “necessary safety protocols” which risked an unintended outbreak.
The “lab leak” theory, initially promoted by Republican lawmakers like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), has gained traction in current weeks following a perfunctory investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this 12 months.
The report stemming from that investigation, which was carried out with the approval of China’s Communist authorities, concluded that the coronavirus possible unfold to people by way of animals and that it’s “extremely unlikely” to have escaped from a laboratory. The US and greater than a dozen different nations criticized the investigation for its lack of independence and transparency.
When Doocy requested Psaki if President Biden had known as on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to open the lab to an unbiased investigation, Psaki responded: “I’d say that now we have made that decision publicly, many instances. We have conveyed that privately and now we have definitely communicated that they weren’t clear from the start. That’s not acceptable.
“There’s an opportunity now, in the next stage of this effort, for them to be transparent, to participate in an international investigation that can bring a conclusion to the origins and provide information that we – Republicans, Democrats, everyone in this country — would love to have access to,” she added.
Even US well being officers who’re skeptical of the lab leak theory, like National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins, have known as on China to open up the Wuhan lab to an outdoor probe.
“The idea of some kind of lab accident has been out there and I would not say that the investigation that was done by [the] WHO earlier this year satisfied anybody as far as really looking into the details of that,” Collins told Fox News final week. “We don’t know the answer yet, and we need to know.”