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President Joe Biden expects to release the findings of his 90-day inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 to the public, unless there is something he is “unaware of,” Biden told reporters Thursday.
Biden made the comments just before boarding Air Force One on a trip to Ohio. White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had declined to say Wednesday whether the report would be released to the public.
"Yes, unless there's something I'm unaware of," replies @POTUS when asked by a travel pool reporter at @Andrews_JBA if he'll release the report reviewing the origins of #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/D0h470B3qG
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) May 27, 2021
Reporters have pressed on the apparent turnaround from the White House regarding a U.S.-led investigation into the origins of the pandemic. Psaki had told reporters Tuesday that the Biden administration did not support a U.S.-led investigation, instead arguing at the time that the World Health Organization (WHO) was the “appropriate body” for the inquiry.
“This is something that was ongoing. This is something that has been going on since March. The WHO doing their thing and the I.C. doing what they’re doing currently is not mutually exclusive. This is something that can happen at the same time,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.
Jean-Pierre repeatedly declined to say whether the U.S. would impose consequences on China if the review concludes that COVID-19 leaked out of a research lab. Jean-Pierre emphasized, however, that the U.S. is dissatisfied with China’s lack of transparency and cooperation throughout the pandemic.
“If it turns out that COVID-19 originated from some sort of a lab accident in China…would the president seek to punish China?” Fox News Reporter Peter Doocy asked.
“We’re not gonna go there just yet. We have to go through the 90-day review,” Jean-Pierre said. “Once we have the 90-day review we’ll be able to reassess.”
Biden ordered the U.S. intelligence community to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the lab leak theory Wednesday morning.
“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” Biden wrote in the announcement. “Here is their current position: ‘while two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter – each with low or moderate confidence – the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.’”