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You are here News Health Top Trump officials pushed the Covid-19 lab-leak theory. Investigators had doubts.

Top Trump officials pushed the Covid-19 lab-leak theory. Investigators had doubts.

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Trump officials tried to blame China for Covid-19 leak

Senior Trump administration officials decided in the spring of 2020 to strongly imply that Covid-19 came from a Chinese lab, even though intelligence officials investigating the pandemic’s origins did not have conclusive evidence supporting that hypothesis.

The messaging campaign began as a concerted effort to push back against China, which was attempting to blame the United States for the spread of the virus. In documents and cables newly obtained by POLITICO, officials shared talking points emphasizing that even Beijing’s own communications acknowledged the outbreak began in China’s Wuhan Province.

But some officials at the White House, the National Security Council and the State Department urged the U.S. to go further. They wanted to blame China for covering up the pandemic’s origins and to allege that it came from a research facility in Wuhan that specialized in the study of dangerous bat pathogens — a move they described as going on the diplomatic offensive. The goal, officials said, was in part to pressure China to allow the U.S. and the international community access to Wuhan to investigate.


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