Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a fiery statement on Friday following reports of bureaucrats obstructing Trump era efforts to investigate the origins of the Chinese coronavirus.
“It is outrageous that people within our government worked to obstruct and censor the investigation into the origins of COVID-19, especially with regard to whether the virus emerged because of American-funded research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology,” the Florida senator said in a statement.
“Unelected bureaucrats need more oversight to ensure they are acting in the best interests of the American people,” he continued.
“It is indefensible that, next week, the Senate will push forward with investing $200 billion into federal research and development without critical safeguards to ensure it doesn’t end up stolen or misused to catastrophic ends by Beijing, in part because of the poor judgment of bureaucrats such as these,” he added.
Rubio’s statement followed a Thursday Vanity Fair story, detailing state department investigators who said they were “repeatedly advised not to open a ‘Pandora’s box'” in relation to the origins of the virus. Further, according to the report, officials were told to refrain from investigating the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, specifically:
In one State Department meeting, officials seeking to demand transparency from the Chinese government say they were explicitly told by colleagues not to explore the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s gain-of-function research, because it would bring unwelcome attention to U.S. government funding of it.
In an internal memo obtained by Vanity Fair, Thomas DiNanno, former acting assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, wrote that staff from two bureaus, his own and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, “warned” leaders within his bureau “not to pursue an investigation into the origin of COVID-19” because it would “‘open a can of worms’ if it continued.”
The news comes as GOP lawmakers ramp up demands to investigate the origins of the Chinese coronavirus and hold China accountable. On Thursday, Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, and Rep. James Comer (R-KY), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, renewed their calls for Democrat leaders to investigate the origins of the Chinese coronavirus and ultimately “hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable.”
“The American people have a right to know what our government knew about the origins of the pandemic and when it was known,” they wrote in the letter addressed to committee leaders Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY).
“Therefore, we renew our request that you immediately convene hearings to examine the origins of COVID-19, the possibility that it leaked from a CCP-controlled laboratory, and any involvement of U.S. taxpayer funds,” they wrote, also requesting their demand of “unredacted versions of all of Dr. Fauci’s recently released emails.”
“Your continued inaction while facing mounting evidence of the CCP’s malicious conduct is concerning,” they added.