President Donald Trump said this week that he has a high degree of confidence that the coronavirus originated from a virology lab in Wuhan, China.
During Thursday's White House news conference, Trump was asked: "Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?"
"Yes, I have. Yes, I have," Trump replied, but he did not provide any specifics.
Trump was asked why he has such a high degree of confidence that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and he replied, "I can't tell you that. I'm not allowed to tell you that."
President Trump said that China might have intentionally allowed the coronavirus to spread.
"They either didn't do it and they couldn't do it from a competent standpoint, or they let it spread," Trump said. "And I would say probably it was, it got out of control. But there's another case that how come they stopped all the planes and all of the traffic from going into China, but they didn't stop the planes and the traffic from coming into the United States and from coming into all over Europe?"
Trump was referencing an April 15 report from Fox News' Bret Baier that stated China shut down domestic air travel from Wuhan due to fears of the coronavirus outbreak, but allowed international flights to continue.
On Wednesday, Trump said that he was examining different options in punishing Beijing over the coronavirus pandemic.
President Trump also slammed the World Health Organization for being a "public relations agency for China."
"And I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they're like the public relations agency for China," Trump said during the news conference.
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was not known if the coronavirus came from the Chinese Biosafety Level 4 lab in Wuhan.
"We don't know if it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We don't know if it emanated from the wet market or yet some other place. We don't know those answers," Pompeo said in an interview with KTSA-AM.
"We need partners we can rely on that when they tell us something, it is accurate and that we don't think they're hiding anything," Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday. "The world hasn't gained access to the WIV, the virology institute there. We don't know precisely where this virus originated from."
The U.S. intelligence community issued a statement Thursday about the origin of COVID-19. The intelligence agencies said the coronavirus originated in China, but are still investigating if the virus came from the Wuhan virology lab. The intelligence community said that they agreed with "the widespread scientific consensus" that the coronavirus was "not manmade or genetically modified," dismissing the idea that the virus is an engineered bioweapon.
"The entire Intelligence Community has been consistently providing critical support to U.S. policymakers and those responding to the COVID-19 virus, which originated in China. The Intelligence Community also concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated.
"As we do in all crises, the Community's experts respond by surging resources and producing critical intelligence on issues vital to U.S. national security. The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan," the statement read.
Chinese officials have been spreading a conspiracy theory that alleges the U.S. Army brought the coronavirus to China. The unfounded report cites the origin of the coronavirus in Wuhan was from 300 athletes from the U.S. military who attended the 7th Military World Games in Wuhan in October.
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