U.S. officials have reportedly seen evidence proving that the coronavirus outbreak originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology and have started crafting a retaliatory response to communist China over its handling of the pandemic.
President Donald Trump was asked by Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts on Thursday: “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,” Trump responded. “Yes, I have.”
Later, when pressed on the specific evidence that he’s seen, Trump responded by indicating that the information was highly sensitive and could not be disclosed.
Trump added, “And, I think that the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China.”
Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell confirmed on Thursday that the U.S. is conducting investigations into the lab, and that it does not believe that the coronavirus was man-made or genetically modified.
“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 man-made or genetically modified,” Grenell said in a statement. “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 Washington Post reported on Thursday that Trump, angered by China’s actions that led to a global pandemic, wants to take severe actions against China.
The Washington Post reported:
Senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to four senior administration officials with knowledge of internal planning. …
Senior officials across multiple government agencies are expected to meet Thursday to begin mapping out a strategy for seeking retaliatory measures against China, two people with knowledge of the meeting said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the planning. Officials in American intelligence agencies are also involved in the effort.
President Trump has fumed to aides and others in recent days about China, blaming the country for withholding information about the virus, and has discussed enacting dramatic measures that would probably lead to retaliation by Beijing, these people said.
One top official cautioned that right now was not the right time to punish China for what it did, but added that “there will be a time to do it.”
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