In an interview on Fox Enterprise later Wednesday night, Pompeo doubled down on his declare that he had “seen proof that this doubtless got here from the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” however added that he’d be “completely satisfied to see proof that disproves that.”
The highest US diplomat has maintained an aggressive line of assault on China’s dealing with of the virus because the Trump administration appears to deflect blame for its response to the illness that has now killed greater than 71,000 Individuals and stalled the financial system within the essential months earlier than the presidential election.
Pompeo additionally insisted there was no contradiction between his place and feedback by different senior US officers who’ve forged doubt on his concept.
“We do not have certainty,” Pompeo stated at a press convention on the State Division Wednesday. “And there’s important proof that this got here from the laboratory. These statements can each be true. I’ve made them each. Administration officers have made them. They’re all true,” he stated.
Pompeo claimed there was “no separation” within the disparate solutions from himself, prime US army officers, 5 Eyes officers, and the intelligence group. The intelligence group “continues to be determining exactly the place this virus started,” Pompeo stated.
“We’re all making an attempt to determine the proper reply. We’re all making an attempt to get to readability,” he stated. “There are completely different ranges of certainty assessed at completely different locations. That is extremely acceptable. Individuals stare at knowledge units and are available to completely different ranges of confidence. Each certainly one of us stares at this and is aware of the truth. The truth of this got here from Wuhan.”
On a Sunday look on ABC’s “This Week,” Pompeo asserted that “there’s a important quantity of proof that this got here from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
Requested about that declare on Wednesday, the highest US diplomat didn’t supply corroboration.
On Wednesday, previous to the remarks, Chinese language Overseas Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying charged that Pompeo couldn’t current proof as a result of he did not have any.
“This matter ought to be dealt with by scientists and never politicians out of their home political wants,” Hua stated.
Specialists have forged doubt on the lab concept
A number of US specialists, together with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s prime infectious illness knowledgeable, have forged doubt on the speculation that the virus originated in a lab. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, stated Monday that proof the virus started in a lab is “inconclusive.”
An April 30 assertion by the US intelligence group stated it “concurs with the vast scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not artifical or genetically modified,” however continues to analyze “whether or not the outbreak started by contact with contaminated animals or if it was the results of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated final week that the data he has doesn’t counsel that the virus originated within the lab, however famous “you’ll be able to’t rule something out in these environments.”
Pompeo has repeatedly stated the US has not obtained entry to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the place he claims the lethal virus originated, and has lambasted China’s ruling celebration for its lack of transparency.
“That is an ongoing problem — we nonetheless haven’t got the samples that we’d like, we nonetheless haven’t got the entry,” Pompeo stated throughout Wednesday’s briefing. “Cooperation is about motion, it is about opening up, it is about sharing this info in order that the small print of affected person zero, the place this started are issues which can be in possession of solely the Chinese language Communist Occasion. They’re those who can assist unlock that.”
This text has been up to date with extra feedback from Pompeo and background.
CNN’s Jamie Crawford, Kylie Atwood, Alex Marquardt, Zachary Cohen, Stephen Collinson, Steven Jiang and Isaac Yee contributed to this report.