President Trump claimed he’d seen evidence linking the coronavirus to a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan — but didn’t offer up any details.
“Yes, I have,” Trump told White House reporters when asked whether he’s seen proof that would suggest the virus originated in the lab.
When pressed, on what gave him that confidence, he said: “I can’t tell you that. I am not allowed to tell you that.”
Earlier on Thursday, the US intelligence community said it agreed with the scientific consensus that the novel coronavirus was not “manmade or genetically modified.”
But it confirmed that it was looking into “whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
The statement from the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees national security matters, confirmed earlier reports that government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, have launched probes into whether the outbreak happened at the Wuhan lab.
No direct evidence has emerged suggesting that the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has, over the past decade, been conducting research into bat-borne viruses linked to multiple epidemics.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday accused Chinese officials of being shady about the virus’ origins and said US officials haven’t been allowed to inspect the lab.
“We don’t know precisely where this virus originated from. There are multiple labs that are continuing to conduct work, we think — continue on contagious pathogens inside of China today and we don’t know if they are operating at a level of security to prevent this from happening again,” Pompeo told reporters.
Chinese officials and scientists have denied any connection between the outbreak and the research facility.