Mike Pompeo, who served as secretary of state under former President Donald Trump, says he is “convinced” that the virus that causes COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab.
“We know for sure they covered up this virus. I am confident that we will find that the evidence that we have seen to date is consistent with a lab leak and I’m convinced that’s what we’ll see. If I am wrong, I hope the Chinese Communist Party will come forward and make a fool of me,” he said on Fox News.
Pompeo also accused the Chinese government of covering up the leak of the virus. “There are many things the United States government could do to impose real cost on the Chinese Communist Party until they come clean about what they know and what they did,” Pompeo told Fox.
He said that, shortly after the first case of the virus was reported in Washington state on Jan. 20, 2020, Trump officials tried to get information from China. “And the Chinese Communist Party had gone completely dark,” Pompeo said.
“They wouldn’t take our phone calls, they wouldn’t answer our questions. We sent inquires, we couldn’t get a straight answer … The Chinese Communist Party clearly knew they had a problem, they didn’t want the world to know it and I’m convinced they still know they have a problem and don’t want us to know it.”
“We need to know what happened here,” Pompeo said. “The Chinese Communist Party knows what happened here. They know who patient-zero was, they know precisely when this began … We need to get to the bottom of this because this could happen again.”
Republican lawmakers have long insisted that the government should investigate the theory that the virus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Last week GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee claimed that “significant circumstantial evidence” exists showing that the virus first emerged from a leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The lawmakers, headed by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who is the top Republican on the committee, said in a report obtained by Fox News that China has not cooperated with efforts to find out where the virus originated.
“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” they wrote in the report. “Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
The report also said the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) military had “involvement” in the lab and rejected the long-reported claim that the virus came from bats. “By contrast, little circumstantial evidence has emerged to support the PRC’s claim that COVID-19 was a natural occurrence, having jumped from some other species to human,” the lawmakers wrote.
The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week it is possible the virus had a “lab-based origin.”
At a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky how she thinks the pandemic began. “I don’t believe I’ve seen enough data, individual data for me to be able to comment on that,” Walensky said.
Kennedy then asked about the “possibilities” of where the virus originated: “Certainly the possibilities of, that most coronaviruses that we know of are of origin from, that have infected the population — SARS CoV-1, MERS — generally come from an animal origin.”
“Are there any other possibilities?” Kennedy asked.
“Certainly a lab-based origin is one possibility,” Walensky said.