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Senate Republicans call for action after Energy Department backs COVID ‘lab leak’ theory

Senate Republicans call for action after Energy Department backs COVID ‘lab leak’ theory

Senate Republicans dprovided transparency and accountability in response to reports that the US Department of Energy concluded that COVID-19 likely originated from a Chinese lab leak.

The reports, published Sunday by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, revealed that newly classified intelligence had prompted the department to join the FBI in concluding that the COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a laboratory leak in Wuhan, China. The department, which was previously undecided on the issue, had made the determination with “low confidence,” according to both reports.


Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) called for “broad” public hearings on the origins of COVID in Congress during an appearance Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, citing China’s efforts to “silence people” when nations of the first world questioned how the pandemic began. .

“I think we need to hold extensive hearings. I hope our Democratic colleagues in Congress can support it. I know Republicans in the House certainly support it,” Sullivan told host Chuck Todd. “Look, this is a country that has no problem going out and lying to the world. We just saw that with this Chinese spy balloon. It’s the nature of a communist dictatorship to lie to its own people, to lie to the world. But I think we need to make sure that all countries know about it and then look at what the consequences might be.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) tweeted that he plans to reintroduce legislation that would require the U.S. government to declassify intelligence about the COVID-19 outbreak. The Missouri senator introduced a bill in 2021 that would require the Biden administration to release all information about the Wuhan lab in question.

“The American people deserve the full truth about the origins of #covid. No more whitewashing,” he wrote on the social media platform on Sunday. “I will reintroduce legislation to make the US government’s intelligence reports on covid open to the public.”

The theory that COVID-19 originated from an accidental laboratory leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was widely dismissed as misinformation in the early stages of the pandemic. It gained traction in May 2021 when the Wall Street Journal reported that three Wuhan lab employees were hospitalized in November 2019, just before the outbreak began. The FBI concluded with “moderate confidence” in a report released a month later that the pandemic was likely caused by an accidental lab leak, and the agency still maintains that view.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who has suggested the possibility of a lab leak and called for investigations into the matter since early 2020, months before the virus reached American soil, was criticized by the New York Times and the Washington Post in February 2020. to repeat what both sources referred to as the “fringe theory.”

“Re. China’s lab leak, proven right, doesn’t matter,” Cotton tweeted Sunday along with a link to the Wall Street Journal article. “What matters is that the Chinese Communist Party is held accountable because this is not happen again.”


Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO) referenced Cotton’s treatment on social and mainstream media while reacting to the Department of Energy’s shift in stance.

Cotton, Schmitt wrote on Twitter, “called himself a ‘conspiracy theorist.'” Facebook absolutely banned posts related to the lab leak theory. Americans had their voices censored at the behest of the government. In the Senate, I will lead the charge to make sure this censorship never happens again.”

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