Eighteen Republican attorneys general called Friday for a congressional probe into Chinaâ€™s deliberate concealment of the severity of the coronavirus outbreak at its onset.
â€œRecent reports suggest that the communist Chinese government willfully and knowingly concealed information about the severity of the virus while simultaneously stockpiling personal protective equipment,â€� stated the letter from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, which 17 other state attorneys general co-signed.
The letter was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the leaders of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
The attorneys general detailed Chinaâ€™s apparent efforts to have â€œintentionally misled the world over the last 6 monthsâ€� in the letter.
â€œThese layers of deceit began last year with the censoring of Chinese health officials and the muzzling of Taiwanese complaints,â€� the attorneys general wrote. â€œThe cover-up continued with the expulsion of media outlets and the proliferation of Chinese propaganda targeting the Western world.â€�
â€œCongressional hearings are critical to our Nationâ€™s understanding of the origins of COVID-19 and the efforts to deceive the international community,â€� the letter stated.
The attorneys general call for a congressional probe into Chinaâ€™s handling of the coronavirus outbreak came three weeks after Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government for damages caused by its efforts to deceive the global community about the dangers of the virus.
Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in April his committee would conduct a wide-ranging probe into the coronavirus outbreak, including its origins in China and the World Health Organizationâ€™s response to the virus.
President Donald Trump said in late April that heâ€™s seen evidence that strongly indicates the coronavirus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. His comments about the lab came one day after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that itâ€™s examining whether the virus accidentally leaked from a lab in Wuhan.
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