A group of House Republicans is introducing a bill on Thursday that would force the Biden administration to declassify intelligence related to the possibility that the coronavirus could have leaked from a Chinese lab.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., is leading the effort, which follows the introduction of a similar bill in the Senate last month by Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Mike Braun, R-Ind.
The new House bill, first obtained by Fox News, would force the director of national intelligence to “declassify any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19), including … activities performed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology with or on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army”
“Now we know certain facts too that stack up in favor of the lab leak hypothesis,” Gallagher said in an interview with Fox News, including information released by the Trump administration that some workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were getting sick in autumn 2019.
WUHAN ‘LAB LEAK’ CORONAVIRUS THEORY IN FOCUS AS HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEMAND ANSWERS
“There is the nature of the disease itself. If it were truly of zoonotic or animal origin, you would expect it to be most infectious in the host species, i.e. bats, less infectious in intermediate species like pangolins and least infections in humans,” Gallagher said. “This disease operates in the opposite fashion.”
These facts, Gallagher said, point to the possibility the virus could have been the subject of “gain of function research.”
“Admittedly, we don’t know,” if the virus came from the Wuhan lab, Gallagher added. “All I’m saying is lets get to the bottom of it. Is there any more important question in the world right now?”
The bill includes in its findings notable comments from former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director (CDC) Robert Redfield in which he says the lab leak theory is the “most likely” explanation for how the spread of COVID-19 began.
“I am of the point of view, I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, escaped,” Redfield told CNN earlier this year. “Science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker.”
Fox News reported as early as April 2020 that sources had “increasing confidence,” based on classified and open-source documents, that the coronavirus outbreak may have originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, not as a bioweapon but as part of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States.
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If China was responsible for the coronavirus, which has killed 3.3 million people worldwide, nearly 600,000 Americans, ground many economies to a halt and is still ravaging countries like India, Gallagher said there needs to be some kind of accountability for the Chinese Communist Party.
“At a minimum we need to reduce if not eliminate entirely their influence over the World Health Organization – the way in which they’re blocking Taiwan from participating in the World Health Organization – that would be sort of the minimum criteria,” Gallagher said.
“There’s another debate about whether you could create a legal construct to hold the CCP accountable for the billions if not trillions of dollars of damages that they’ve caused through their malfeasance,” he continued.
Fox News’ Brett Baier and Gregg Re contributed to this report.