Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, argued during an exclusive interview with “Sunday Morning Futures” that “everything points to the Wuhan lab” as it pertains to the origin of infectious-disease, and added that “we need to get to the bottom of it.”
Turner, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, stressed that “the world-regions government needs to be held accountable” for COVID-19.
The Ohio congressman also told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday that he believes that the Biden administration is now investigating the origin of the novel coronavirus “because of the public outcry” and because of a report released this month by Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee.
The Biden administration is calling for a transparent international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, with the White House calling for China and the World Health Organization to provide data and information necessary for U.S. officials to draw conclusions.
The White House has criticized the WHO and China for its “phase one” report for its lack of transparency. That report dismissed claims that COVID-19 had escaped from the lab in Wuhan, and called the theory of zoonotic transmission, or transfer of infection from animals to humans, “likely to very likely.” It also said the idea that the virus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology “extremely unlikely.”
A State Department official told Fox News that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is committed to getting more details on the origins of COVID-19, as both a function of accountability and to ensure the U.S. and the American people are protected from public health threats in the future.
The official added that the U.S. and the world need transparency from China, which Beijing has not yet allowed, and said the State Department is working closely with their administration partners and international partners to get the answers needed.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is one of China’s top virus research labs, built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and has faced criticism over its transparency throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
China has promoted unproven theories that the virus may have originated elsewhere, or was even been brought into the country from overseas with imports of frozen seafood tainted with the virus, a notion rejected by international scientists and agencies.
When Bartiromo asked Turner if he believes COVID-19 is a bioweapon he said, “It certainly could have been.”
“Even if you just look at this intuitively, where the Wuhan lab is undertaking this type of research, it’s in Wuhan, the virus comes from Wuhan, it’s not like the lab is in Wuhan, the virus comes from Shanghai or even Paris,” Turner explained.
“And then you overlay the reports … that even include perhaps collaboration between the Wuhan lab and the Chinese military, which are referenced in the House Intelligence report, which you can see online, dating back to 2012 where there are concerns about the lab’s operations and its coordination with the Chinese military.”
Earlier this month, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, including Turner, said there is “significant circumstantial evidence” that the COVID-19 outbreak stemmed from a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and urged the federal government to put “more pressure on China” to allow for a “full, credible investigation” into the source of the global pandemic.
Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Republicans on the panel released the report on May 19, first obtained by Fox News, saying it is “crucial for health experts and the U.S. government to understand how the COVID-19 virus originated” to prevent “or quickly mitigate future pandemics.”
“International efforts to discover the true source of the virus, however, have been stymied by a lack of cooperation from the People’s Republic of China,” Republicans wrote. “Nevertheless, significant circumstantial evidence raises serious concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak may have been a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Republicans pointed to public reports that “several researchers in the Wuhan lab were sickened with COVID-19-like symptoms” in fall 2019, and the Chinese military’s “involvement in the Wuhan Lab.”
Turner told Bartiromo on Sunday that the report lays out “concerns” related to “occurrences at the lab right before the virus breaks out and goes worldwide,” including the “reports of individuals becoming sick,” which he argued “raises the concern” about potential U.S. involvement.
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A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Rich Edson, Tyler Olson and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.