It's likely that the COVID-19 pandemic started by a lab leak from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology, Rep. Devin Nunes tells Newsmax, but he doesn't think it was done on purpose. More likely, the California Republican says, it was ineptitude due to socialist bureaucracy.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said recently he doesn't believe the Chinese government would purposely release the deadly virus on its own people. Nunes on Thursday told "Spicer & Co." hosts Sean Spicer and Lindsay Keith that as former House Intelligence chair and current ranking member, he has seen investigations going back 10 years on China.
Three weeks ago we came out with a report with a letter to Biden asking questions that he couldn't answer," Nunes said. "Since then you've seen a cascade in a breaking of the dam that … maybe the Chinese are responsible for this."
He noted that both Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and himself have long cited circumstantial evidence pointing to a possible lab leak. But Democrats, the scientific community and the mainstream press have insisted such talk was based only on conspiracy theories.
"I don't think they released it on purpose," Nunes said. " I think what probably did happen is that they were developing something that they probably shouldn't have been involved in. We knew that this lab had a lot of issues with security. … Our own state department employees that went out there said, 'Hey, this doesn't look very safe.' I think that was in 2017."
Likely what happened, Nunes said, is what was happening in the Wuhan lab wasn't safe, people in the United States knew it wasn't safe, but, "We were giving them money. People within our own government knew that it wasn't safe. We probably shouldn't have been working on gain of function type activities because we had actually outlawed it in this country for a short amount of time."
"So it probably was an accident that quite frankly, socialists and inefficient governments tend to have bureaucracies that don't work," he said.
Nunes was also asked about White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's comments Thursday that Fauci has been "an undeniable asset and our country's pandemic response."
"I believe that if the Republicans win in 2022, if we can take control the House and especially, if we take control of the Senate, I don't think you will see Fauci or [National Institutes of Health Director Francis] Collins around any longer," he said. "In fact, I think they're going to become a liability so much so that they'll probably be gone before the next election."
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